Thursday… Winter bites!

Winter SceneI suppose we are no worse off (and probably better) than most of the country, but this was the scene that greeted us this morning. (and more pictures in the Gallery).

It seems to have been a long time since the last entry, longer than I normally leave it, but quite a lot going on. No sign yet of another contract, but feelers are still out there. I have been up to London for my penultimate ECP session, which went as uneventfully as usual, with the last one scheduled for January 2011. January 2011 – seems just round the corner!

I have also had a really bad cold for the last few days. I always get at least one really nasty one a year (since the transplant – but small price to pay!) but I think I picked this one up from Livvy.

OliviaI have been on (play) school pick up duty a couple of times, bringing her back here, cooking her some tea (Scrambledy eggs!) and looking after her until Vikki can pick her up. It feels really odd hanging round with other parents – a real travel back in time! And it has been a while since I posted a photo of Livvy here – quite a change – she is nearly 4, born if you recall, when I was having a couple of health snagettes in Southampton General.

And with Christmas round the corner, it will soon be time to get out the decorations, and decorate the blog in its traditional festive manner! Watch this space.

So all ticking along – may things continue Onwards and Upwards!


Friday… Happy Birthday!

SnowmanIt did seem as if the cold weather heralded the end of the world – local shops ran out of milk, bread and vegetables – fortunately I was OK as I had stocked up earlier! (Only joking 🙂 ) But the snow was quite pretty, and the children built this large snowman in the back garden. However the thaw was starting as I drove back to Corsham – only to be lulled into a false sense of security as the second wave of snow fell Oliviaon Tuesday night, which made driving the two miles to work ‘interesting’ in the morning. However that has now all but gone, although the warm wet Atlantic air is causing quite dense fog patches as it meets the cold air from the ground, so the drive home was interesting.

However, perhaps the most significant items of the week are the fourth anniversary of my transplant (last Sunday) and Olivia’s third birthday today! Happy Birthday Olivia!

Onwards and Upwards!


Sunday… Overdue for an update!

OliviaAn update is long overdue, but first, as it has been quite a while since I posted a picture of Olivia, here is one taken a couple of weeks ago. She is very much a little girl, now aged 21/2 years old, and very mobile, very determined and quite able to make herself understood, with a vocabulary that is increasing daily!

I have had a busy two weeks since I last posted, finishing off some coursework for the last University module I completed, and last week, back at Cranfield for another module, with an exam at the end of it. New serverI have also had some results from last year’s work, and while one result from coursework was disappointing, I had made up for it in the exam, so I passed it, and I think I have enough credits for the PgCert, so I am now working towards the PgDip.

Last week’s course was quite intensive, but the exam seemed to go well, and I should get some results in about six weeks. I am now waiting for the coursework!

I have also been doing some computer stuff at home, and I have built a new server for the blog, one that will use less power and be a bit quieter. I moved the webserver onto it this morning, and it all seems to be working well! New serverThe pictures show the internals as I was building it, the main feature being nodedicated processor cooling fan, and only one small case fan that just switches on when required. The other picture shows the two disc drives (2.5″) in a RAID 1 configuration, which also consume less power.

Healthwise things have been a bit mixed. While I have been feeling well, and putting on a bit more weight, I have had an occurrence of the sore mouth, coinciding with a meal out with some very tasty chilli nachos about 3 weeks ago. I have been taking some medication that I have used before, and it is much better, but yesterday I had a letter from Guy’s confirming what I had thought, that I had a slight infection, and suggesting some other treatment to clear it up properly.

And there is another milestone tomorrow when I go up to St Thomas’s for the last planned session of ECP. It has certainly made a big difference to my health, and the GvHd seems to be under control. However if it does flare up again, there is always the option to have another course of the treatment.

So really on all fronts, it is ‘Onwards and Upwards’!


Saturday… Two steps forward…one back

There are some significant changes in my life happening soon, including a job change, but as part of the completion of my current occupation, I needed a medical examination! Actually a formal review of my medical history over the last few years. However, while I was doing that, I applied to retake my diving medical – you may recall that I tried that over a year ago, and failed it, which was a bit disappointing. However, I am delighted to say that I passed it this time, with quite a good result in the fitness test – the main thing I failed last time. (If anyone is interested, it is the Harvard Step Test) so another little psychological boost. However it isn’t all good news as the Doctor is reluctant to pass me as fit to dive because of all the treatment, but my notes are being passed to a diving medicine specialist for examination.

Other than that, this week was an ECP week, so I had my two days at St Thomas’s. I have also had a bit of a sniffle, so I dutifully took myself to the haemotology department at Guy’s for another NPA, and came away with some anti-biotics “Just in case”. It seems to be clearing up, but whether that is spontaneous or the result of the anti-biotics, I don’t know. maybe the results of the NPA will show something.

Olivia came over on Friday – quite a toddler, and very determined! If she wants to show you something, it’s a firm grip on your finger, and off you go. I must take some more photos of her!

So a good week overall, and another step Onwards and Upwards!

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Monday… The anniversaries continue

OliviaHot on the trail of last Wednesday’s anniversary came the anniversary of my passing my driving test (12 June), but the most important one occurred on Saturday, Katie’s 21st Birthday! We had a ‘bit of a bash’ with a mixture of family and friends to help her celebrate the day with a plenty of Pimms and a BBQ. The weather was lovely for most of the afternoon, but the rain did come down with a vengeance for about forty-five Oliviaminutes, and saw the (four piece) jazz band fleeing to the house, where they set up again – not every day you get a jazz band playing in the living room! However the rain cleared and the party continued on until just before midnight.
Some photos from the day are here in the gallery! Sunday was spent clearing up and putting stuff away, but it was a great weekend.

This morning saw Felicity depart for a week to Royal Ascot, where she will be managing one of the restaurants there.

OliviaIt has been a few weeks since I posted any photos of Olivia, who is growing up fast. Her vocabulary is increasing (And I could tell she liked the home made burgers by the yum yum yum noises!). This one was taken late last week, when Vicki brought her over.

Tomorrow I am off to London for the next session of ECP. Although I was told that the improvements will take place over several weeks, I think I can detect slight improvements in joint mobility and ‘stretch’ so I hope that continues.

So on that note… Onwards and Upwards!


Sunday… Snowy – but no Tintin!

Snow sceneSkipping quickly past the famous Belgian reference (the other famous Belgian being Hercule Poirot) this was the scene that greeted us early yesterday morning.
I know we weren’t alone in getting this snow shower, but it is very rare and it has been several years since the garden looked like this. Snow sceneWe were out most of the day, but it was starting to melt as we left, and it had all gone by the time we arrived back home this evening. Still it was very pretty while it lasted, but alas not enough time to even think about making a snowman! There are some more snow scenes here and here in the gallery. (And I must update the gallery with some of the recent pictures of Olivia)
The reason we were out was for a family Oliviagathering – there are several family birthdays in March and April, so it was an opportunity to get together. Although not a March Birthday girl, Olivia was in good form, so I had to include this photo of her, with Vicki!
On the health side, I have put on a couple of Kg in the last 10 days, so weightwise, definitely upwards, and I also had a long chat with Simon on Friday. If you read his comment on Thursday’s post, you will see that he has had an abnormal CT scan, showing an enlarged lymph node in his chest. The problem with CT scans is that while they show the organ’s outline, they don’t show why it may be enlarged, or what is going on in there. Lymph nodes can enlarge for lots of reasons, but a PET scan can determine if there is abnormal cell activity in the node. So Simon is off to have another PET scan, which will show if there is any suspicious activity in the node. If there is (and we all have our fingers crossed that there isn’t!) it can be treated, and if there isn’t, then it is an important reassurance. That said, I know how waiting for results can prey on the mind – Simon, we are with you all the way – and hope that you too will continue…

Onwards and Upwards!