Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year

2009 / 2010 midnight
St Andrews Market Square, in Scotland - the view from the window where I lived until 1990. My thoughts go back there at New Year because the Scots know how to do it - and then need several days to recover. I will not forget - - .

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?


For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

auld lang syne - times gone by - Old Long Ago

Happy New Year to all my friends and family, wherever you are.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Health score definitions for reference

21-40: Score definitions: This is obviously subjective and is about general feeling of illness: it thus combines physical and emotional. I am going to refine the methodology to see if the ups and downs are related to anything.

over 12 - not much breathlessness. Not much aware of illness
11 - Little breathlessness.
very well - I live a more-or-less normal life.
10 - very well - I live a more-or-less normal life - if at a slower pace. Breathlessness allows some change in heart rate.
- well - Improvements in breathlessness and heart rate. No indigestion etc. More active and feel better than 9.
- well - Improvements in breathlessness and heart rate. No indigestion etc.
8.5 - well - breathlessness prevents heart rate. Can travel OK. Can handle hassles. Indigestion little.
8 - quite well - some breathlessness - can avoid sleep in afternoon. Some struggle to do things. Can travel.
Indigestion - mild.
7.5 - quite well - fatigue + breathless - can avoid sleep in afternoon. Can travel. Indigestion - mild.
7 - quite well - fatigue + breathless - can avoid sleep in afternoon; may feel gloom. Can travel with care. Indigestion - but less bad.
6 - aware of being less well - fatigue + breathless - I have to sleep in afternoon. Need to manage energy levels. Indigestion.
5 - feeling off colour - fatigue breathless - I have to sleep in afternoon - gloom. Indigestion.
4 - more off colour - more sleep - gloom or depressed.
3 - not worked out yet
- not worked out yet
- not worked out yet
-1 and below - values are various levels of being ill

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

I am back - and another beach

18-00: I was in South Devon for Xmas - this is Slapton Lea (I first went there nearly 50 years ago) - the best beach I walked along with my brother, even tho' there is no sand. Nothing in the direction of the picture but a good pub behind me, where we had excellent coffee to give us the strength to walk back.

Thanks to Roger for many kindnesses and a lot of cooking so that we could gross out in the proper seasonal way.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas 2009

19-30: There is still snow on the ground here - in some places white and smooth and good for playing. It did thaw into a slushy mess in places today. I don't think they are used to snow here as there are no tobogans and no snow-men.

I will probably be off-line until next week - after the three boxing days following Xmas day. I am off to see my brother in Devon (by train) and I am not going to take my laptop. I am hoping to hole up infront of his wood-burning stove, avoid eating too much and maybe go for a few walks. I am feeling a bit tired just now - partly due to excessive shopping at the weekend! - but I really blame the usual side-effects of chemo.

Thank you for your various letters, emails and cards - it is lovely to hear from you and it is also wonderfully life-affirming.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Snow in Woodbridge

9-25: View from window at 8-45. So it does snow in Woodbridge! Snow in extra time - to be enjoyed when I get my thermals on - and until I need to get the car out this afternoon.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Update on progress

13-20: The picture is of (large) dolphins jumping - taken from my 23' Hunter Liberty yacht 'Matilda' off the river Tyne in August 2003: I do not know if they were jumping for joy - but it is nice to think so - and it was very joyous to see them then. I get to the point eventually - - - .

I feel a bit like this just now. I spent the morning at Ipswich hospital - Xray - blood test and a review by the consultant of how I am progressing. The news is that it going well - and the Xrays are showing great improvement. It is even a good sign that I have put on crazy amounts of weight. So 2010 is going to be better than 2009 - . I am to continue taking vinorelbine in the Day Unit in the hospital every couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Health score - any economic historian can explain any chart - -

16-40: It is an image of a chart in Excel where I am trying to score how I feel each day - the point being to see whether there are any obvious relationships - and as a structure for understanding. I think it has potential. See entry for December 30th for definitions.

A friend - you know who you are and what I owe you - once said that any decent historian can explain any chart - which makes me reluctant to explain this - - - yet!

This covers 12th November through to 16th December - the time since the chemo regimen changed. The scores are subjective and sum up how I feel (physically and emotionally) each day. The highest score is 12 (which Excel clearly did not know about) and represents total health and happiness: I guess that the scores will go negative for big nasties.

A weird whatever-it-is comes out in winter

16-20: In keeping with the 'get less unfit' campaign - I walked around the marina and then upriver (and home via the coffee shop!) in - - yes - - snow. Not proper snow - but the heavy stuff that is almost rain - but it still counts as snow. So now we know that it does snow in Woodbridge.

The menacing-looking weird whatever-it-is has come out of its summer home and is parked at the entrance to the marina. It does look horribly like some sort of insect-robot thingy and it often has humans nurturing it. Sadly - it is only a dredger but a very cool dredger - more pictures when I catch it actually sucking mud through its probescus.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


21-20: I walked along the river today as part of my 'get less unfit' campaign. It rained heavily in the morning but stopped - so the atmosphere was clear and bright. Most of the moored yachts have been fished out of the river and laid up for the winter in various boat yards and in the marina. This leaves the river views wondrously open - as it might have looked before all the moorings were laid. Some writers lament the numbers of moorings but I think they are a good thing because they enable a lot of people to have a boat and go sailing.

I am feeling better than last week. I am now going to try to walk faster and discipline myself to eat less and do some muscle toneing excersises in the morning - I hate to think what other healthy stuff I will read about - - . I thought weight-loss was a danger with cancer - obviously not with me as I have put on several kilos since August. Sigh - but I am not giving up on eating chips from time to time - maybe less often.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Trivia - this week

9-30: Written on Friday - although I started it Tuesday - how misleading. A view if I look out of the wndow - car park - station platform - boat park - River Deben beyond.

A down feeling for some of this week, although hard to describe what exactly I mean by this.
Monday - I woke late and felt very breathless with the ache in my left lung more noticable than before. But - by mid-afternoon - no ache. Maybe excersise did the trick (1 hour cycling and some weights in the morning) or maybe it is random. I continue to feel breathless on occasions - I worry about these relatively small changes - enough to make me wonder (in down moods) about how long 'extra time' is going to be.

And then the rest of the week up and down - culminating in a shopping expedition to Ipswich by train on Friday and hog roast for lunch there in bright sunshine. I have posted most of my cards - and I have visited my boat and hope a new owner turns up soon. Otherwise - all the usual trivia of everyday life.

Living in 'extra-time'

17-50: I am touched yet again that my friends read my blog - it encourages me to keep going and also to find words for how I feel.

This week is the 15th since I was diagnosed - with 'months' to live. I thought then that 'months' meant that I would not make it to Xmas - so after 15 weeks I now live in 'extra time'. I am not trying to live a better life or be a nicer person - I don't have the energy! - but I am very glad still to be here and to want to go sailing again.

I am now trying to write cards - which show the Tide Mill in Woodbridge - under a layer of snow; there has been a cold wind here but I don't believe it ever snows up the Deben!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Fatigue - and boat now ready for sale

17-30: No suitable pictures for this post - me riding a bike etc: is not very photogenic.

I have not written this week because I was too fatigued to formulate something interesting. I did some prodding around the internet about lung cancer and fatigue and discovered some interesting abstracts of articles (mostly European) about treatments for fatigue. These all say that not much is known about the causes of fatigue - which figures with discussions I have had on the subject; it also seems unclear whether it is a side-effect of the cancer or a side-effect of the treatment. The one thing I have found (but not the detail) is that the best treatment for fatigue is - you've guessed it - excersise. So I have parked the car today - and cycled to the shops and boat. But this is all rather circular because I feel a lot better today and therefore happy to cycle around. I also have some very good daily routines - which are supposed to strengthen different bits each day - so back to that routine as well.

I finished clearing the boat on Monday - and brought all my tools home. I still visit her and today I put some gunge on the hull to clean off the brown stains aquired along the East Anglian coast and rivers. It was sunny and nice - so I only did one side and went off to gossip with other denizens of the marina. For the rest of the week - I pottered around - library - a bit of knitting - a bit of needlework - joined the University of the Third Age - and so on. Ipswich Hospital for chemo-therapy on Friday - uneventful.