Friday… The last ECP?

Lausanne1It is about time I wrote a longer blog, and I did promise some photos from my trip to Lausanne. I did wonder if I was going to be able to go at one point – two days before departure I walked into the living room at home, and noticed a damp carpet. Closer inspection showed the central heating radiator had sprung a leak.Lausanne5

Fortunately I was able to find a replacement next day (when the plumbers’ merchants opened after Christmas) and with some help from Mark, mananged to remove the old one, and fit the new, which although a different make, lined up with the pipework, so the job only took about 90 minutes. Better still, the carpet seems to have dried without any lasting stains.Lausanne2

So I did get away and the picture here on the top left shows one of me taken on the hills just above Lake Geneva, just before going off to Loèche-les-Bains. The second photo above shows the steam coming off the outside bath! For obvious reasons there are no photographs from the inside looking out!

Lausanne4This photo (above) shows the sun setting on the mountain tops around Loèche-les-Bains. And the next day, a cable car, shown here took us to the mountain tops, well, at least the lower levels. Very picturesque and there are, as usual, more photographs in the gallery. The top cable car station was also the terminus for another cable car, of a slightly different type, but again with the spectacular backdrop of the Swiss Alps.

Lausanne6After the two days in the Alps, the remainder of the time was spent sight seeing round Lausanne. I certainly felt very well and very refreshed after my trip! The final photo (below) shows Loèche-les-Bains from the cable car during the descent.

At the moment I am sitting in Gassiot House at St Thomas’s Hospital having just completed the first ECP session, with the second tomorrow morning. Will it be the last? Well, there are certainly no more appointments booked, although I am being called for review in March, which will be in eight weeks time, to see how I am getting on. If the skin GvHd does return I can have more treatment but the hope is that it has stabilised.Lausanne8

My next haematology check-up in the haematology clinic (the ‘Late Effects’ clinic) is next week, when I will be reviewed to see how the side effects of the transplant (primarily the GvHd) are affecting me. One thing that has become apparent is that the minor side effects are attracting far more attention than perhaps they did before – things like the dry mouth, and the dry eyes, – which although important, tended to be overlooked against the backdrop of the lymphoma.

This January is the fifth anniversary of the blog, the stem cell transplant was on January 19th 2006, and it is four years since I was rushed to Southampton, and during my stay there, Olivia was born on January 15th. This morning I took her to pre-school! So lots to be thankful for – especially my anonymous donor.

And 2011 has certainly got off to a good start – may it continue ‘Onwards and Upwards’!

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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!

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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!

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Thursday… and snow it did

Car ParkThe snow fell, although not in the same quantities as other parts of the country, but enough to cause panic buying of milk and bread at the local supermarket, and getting to work a little tricky. If anything, this morning was harder as the temperature was -7 when I eventually got into the car, and a colleague reported -14 at his house about 8 miles away. However the countryside did look pretty!Corsham

It was getting cold again tonight as I left work (and it has been clear skies all day) so I hope the roads are OK for my trip back home tomorrow. Still, a pair of boots, a couple of fleeces and other warm clothes – just in case – and I hope I’ll be OK!

Onwards and upwards!

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Tuesday… let it snow (again!)

I an back at work again after a couple of check-ups at St Thomas’s yesterday. The opthalmologists diagnosed dry eyes (and a very low level infection) so I have to artificila tears for use when needed. The dermatologists are very pleased with my progress, and I will carry on with the ECP at six weekly intervals. And that, as they say, was that!

I drove back to Corsham last night – it was -6C when I left home, rose to -3C on the journey, but wqas back at -6C when I arrived! I was very glad I left the heating on (at a low level) while I was away – the flat wasn’t too cold! And the air is quite dry now, so the car was pretty much free from frost this morning.

Today has seen a few flurries of snow, and the sky is looking quite leaden (and it has just started snowing again) so we shall see what tomorrow brings!

Onwards and Upwards!

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Monday… Icy, Icy, I say

The snow has gone from home, the geraniums that are outside look very sad (or dead) and I drove up to work this morning. I wasn’t sure about the route to take, but in the end I had no choice as the A34 was blocked in both directions just north of the A303 (an overturned lorry carrying 39 tonnes of vegetables – presumably now crushed!) so it was down the A303 and across the Plain. In fact the journey was fine – lots of snow in the fields on either side of the A303, very little on the Plain itself until I got to Melksham, where there was snow on the verges, with icy slush on the lanes.

It is raining at the moment, so that should help (provided it doesn’t freeze!), but there is more snow forecast for this afternoon – when I am driving home again, ready for the next check up at Guy’s tomorrow, followed by ECP at St Thomas’s. I just hope the trains are running in the morning!

And in preparation for the check-up, – I jumped on the scales at the weekend – unbelievably my weight has dropped (despite the chocolate biscuits) to 10st! I had better avoid Rachel (dietician)!

Onwards and Upwards!

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Friday… where are the huskies?!

Home again after an interesting couple of days!

Driving back to the hotel last night was fine, the snow was melting, the roads clear, and then it started to snow again so that this morning we had another four or five inches. The drive in was trickier, the gritters hadn’t been out, and the weather was warmer so the snow was slipperier (is that a word) – and not helped by someone driving on my tail as I drove at 15mph up the hills.

There were few people in, and the word was to go home early, so after waiting a while for the gritters to get to work and things to settle down, I left just before midday.

Again I elected to use the motorway, Salisbury Plain would not have been a good idea, but even the A roads round Chippenham were icy – not sheet ice, but that knobbly broken ice that feels as if you are driving on broken stones. The M4 was OK, two lanes open to Swindon, but very light traffic, but the bit from Swindon to Newbury was very wet, with lots of spray from the melted snow. The A34 was fine, and after 5 miles was completely clear, until I got to Winchester, when the snow started again and started slushing. Still, once past that, the roads were clear again and I was soon home! The countryside did look very pretty though.

I suppose compared with some of the Falklands weather it was fairly benign, it is just that we are not used to it!

So onwards and upwards! (and fortunately not sideways!)

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Thursday… and the snow came down!

And the snow continues to make life interesting! I went over to see my sister, Anne, last night (good curry!) and left just before 10. Roads were clear, no snow. By the time I had driven to the M4 the snow was just starting and I drove past a recovery van pulling a car (on its side) out of a field; the roads were still clear, so I don’t know how long it had been there. Five miles further on in the descent down into Bath, the snow was starting to stick, and by the time I got to Box hill, I was crawling along in second gear at 15mph with uncertain traction. I got back to the hotel safely, but I didn’t leave a minute too soon.
Snow sceneThis morning there was about 4 inches of snow on the car, and the roads were ungritted. I left early and got in before there had been too much traffic to compact the snow, but several people have rung in to say that they are snowbound. The forecast isn’t good, so it will be an interesting drive back to Winchester tomorrow!

Onwards and upwards!

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Monday… let it snow…

And it is – as I write! I was up early this morning to find a reasonable dusting of snow on the car, ready to drive up to the West Country. Given the snow, I decided that driving across Salisbury Plain was not a good idea! In fact the A34 was pretty clear up to the M4, so apart from keeping my speed down, the journey wasn’t too bad and didn’t take much longer than normal. However since arriving, the snow has caught up with me, and there are intermittent flurries and about an inch on the ground outside.

With all the concentration on the job, the third anniversary of my transplant on January 9th went un-remarked – which I think is probably a good indication of the progress made in ‘getting my life back’!

So, Onwards and Upwards!

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Friday… again!

It has been another busy week – one where I haven’t been at home much!

It started on Sunday when I flew up to Manchester with Neil (another LeukaemiaCARE trainer) to stay with Suzanne (another LeukaemiaCARE trainer!) and her husband before we all drove up to Glasgow on Monday morning for Elspeth’s Funeral.

The funeral itself was a true celebration of a life well lived, and although it inevitably had its sad moments, it was not the mourneful occasion that it might have been. We drove back to Manchester on Monday afternoon, and Neil and I flew back to Southampton on Tuesday morning.

I was up at St Thomas’s on Wednesday and Thursday for more ECP. Uneventful – no dizzy spells or fainting, and I left in good time to get the train back home!

The sun is again shining as I type – although it is getting cold, and don’t forget that the clocks go back one hour to GMT on Sunday morning! Time to put the heating on! (and get out the Winter Pimms!)

Onwards and upwards!

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