Friday, 29 January 2010

the week in Woodbridge

19-45: Yea - another diagram - the black line is a trend line added by Excel. All done now on my new computer - after many a skirmish with drivers and setups: and new versions of software with icons instead of words.

The diagram is supposed to explain why I have not written a log since Sunday. It covers two cycles of chemotherapy and shows peaks just before and for a day after chemo-therapy. Important for this week - it shows a dip after chemo for about a week. (At Xmas this was not so intense and I don't have an explanation for that - maybe my brother looked after me well.) .

The worst side-effect is fatigue, combined with some indigestion and despondancy. Hard to describe - I seem to be able to do things in the morning - but then have to write off the rest of the day. But not an entirely empty week - but it felt uphill and unsatisfying. I paid my tax - did some accounts - went to the gym - wore my new boots for a walk - made a bonfire (inspite of the wet) at the sailing club to rid the boat park of a lot of debris - went to the supermarket - walked past my boat - connected the printer - downloaded some drivers - copied some files from my other computer - went out to a talk about wind farms - and so on.

This sounds pretty gung-ho; I have not felt like that most of the week but found it hard to write the darker feelings as they happen - and when they go - I like to forget them. So don't forget that you are reading a biased version of the whole-Lorna.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The dredger - dredging

20-15: The probescus goes down into the water -the toothed bit spins round and the mud is sucked through the pipe (just visible floating across the marina) and is deposited into a settling pool to reclaim a bit of land. The whole thing is swung across from one side to another. I watched this today when I might have been mopping the bilges.

A flash of sunshine earlier - sat out in the favourite cafe and ate a cake. It got cold in the afternoon and I did eventually mop the bilges - which had a bit of water from the rain and melting snow.

Two days since the last lot of chemotherapy and the onset of side effects again - which I resent as I was getting used to not feeling zapped-out. So I have done nothing since I got in - - - galling - - - and I have to remind myself that at least I am alive - - .

Saturday, 23 January 2010

sea fever - -

18-10: In the Shetlands in my old boat - a MacWester ketch - in 2008. Wonderful sea state and rocks to avoid. Thanks to Aidan for the picture.

I visited my boat today - it has stood up well to the rain and snow (but needs the bilges mopping out) and it cheered me to sit on it. And the low cloud made its way up the Deben and the driech weather continues - and I continue to rant about the weather, as we all do. Consoled myself by playing on my new computer - and surfing the web for replacements for LA Girl
. Feeling that side effects are going to catch me out in the next few days.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Winter - is icummen in

Says it nicely - heavy rain again today - with fog and mist. Snow forecast for Monday. Interrupts the trivia of everydaylife a lot.

A quote from 'Ancient Music' - Ezra Pound - sing it to Summer is a coming in - - I apologise if I don't need to tell you that!

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm.
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

- - - -

Monday, 18 January 2010

U3A - geology and a cool website

18-10: My only remaining fossil; the rest have been lost in the move - along with boxes of rocks. A very old interest which I thought I would never come back to - - but things change.

So the relevance of this is - - that I have joined a geology group of the University of the Third Age. I met the group for the first time this morning but have spent time reading the text book and browsing various web sites about local geology.

And how about this as the coolest web site showing animations of plate tectonics and changing continents. The north Atlantic one is good - lots more stuff on this site.

Friday, 15 January 2010

trivia - weather - an upward trend again

21-25: One little grebe (dab chick) - a borrowed picture until I can take one - I am feeling better now than at the start of the week and the graph has crept up a bit.

The most annoying and non-trivial thing - my desktop computer refused to work - so a new and shiny model is due for delivery next week. (This is done on my trusty laptop). I lost about an hour's work on one file - amateur!

I really detest the winter - it is not just the wet, dreich weather - or the ice - or the dark nights - or the gas bills - . It is the complete lack of sailing. I can stand it for a while - but this week sees the beginning of me looking longingly at the water - where I belong. Double frustration because no-one has bought my boat yet - perhaps hardly surprising as the marina has been covered in snow.

I saw dab chicks (little grebes) feeding along the Deben in several groups of about ten - they dive and then spring up when they surface - cool. I puzzled over what they were for some time. There are a lot of other birds feeding in the mud as well -
I mention curlew and a shelduck in particular. If it were not wet - it would be nice to walk along the river and watch them.

I have started an earnest attempt to rehabilitate the body through going to the gym. I have had a couple of sessions with the trainer and now have a structured plan - which I have just started and about which I will give detail in another post. This, and the breathing and the stretching, seems to be doing good - I walked faster today than usual, with only a little breathlessness. I actually like doing excersises and going to the gym - or it would not be a viable option!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Score over two cycles of chemotherapy

19-20: See Wed: 30th December for definitions of the scores.

Since I started to write this blog - in March 2009 - I have felt that it is easier to write about the bad stuff with a sort of self-deprecating humour. I reject this in theory but in practice feel that I did not manage to convey the darker side of sailing. Nor do I convey the ups and downs of my present life. Mostly I am quite cheerful and (on occasions) happy - which I explain in terms of the pleasures of being alive. Yet if it is to be an honest blog - it has to have the downsides.

One reason for trying to give each day a score is that it gives a sense of the up and down of chemotherapy. This diagram shows I have felt pretty unwell for a few days - since the last lot of chemotherapy. This contrasts with the downs after the previous lot. Why the difference - if I were a historian - I would try to explain it in terms of Xmas and the weather! As it is - - I have no idea - - . I just hope the upturn today continues - - in line with previous cycles.

The snow is melting fast today - so I walked along the river.

Friday, 8 January 2010

More snow today -

20-30: The boat under its cover - with snow. It snowed last night and now lies at about 8 cms.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Winter - but not overwhelmed with snow - Jan 7th

19-55: mud and snow downstream over the Deben.

Breathlessness, heart rate and excersise.

11-10: For doing moderate excersise - it is necessary to increase the heart rate. However - I cannot get my heart rate up because I get out of breath before I have done enough excersise to get my heart rate up. I have not seen this mentioned on any of the lung cancer support web sites; maybe it is taken for granted.

The best suggestion I have had about this is from my brother - whose idea is to do specific breathing excersises to increase lung function and capacity, in the expectation of reducing breathlessness. So - back to the web - and after much searching I found three very useful-sounding things to try.
i) Deep 'belly' breathing to practice taking deep breaths.
ii) 'chinese' excersise, which involves taking three short breaths without breathing out and raising the arms at the same time: lower the arms with breathing out.
iii) Take deep breath, hold for five seconds and breath out slowly through a small opening of the mouth.

I am doing the 'chinese' excersise twice a day and the others from time to time. I expect this to take a while to have any effect, and may not deal with breathlessness caused by chemotherapy. But worth a try.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Cancer and excersise

18-00: Slight snow in Woodbridge; more forecast. River Deben looks wonderful in winter weather.

There seems to be a reluctance to encourage serious excersise as part of cancer rehabilitation - although there is some knowledge and research on the subject.

I have started to do specific excersises to increase strength, reduce fatigue and generally improve fitness. These are based on a programme I did some years ago which involve doing about 20 minutes every morning at home - very enjoyable (the programme is in a book - Jorge Criuse, 8 Minutes in the Morning). I rarely use the car and have done a lot of walking around Woodbridge to the boat, shops and along the river. I think these have done some good and I do feel less unfit and fatigued than formerly.

I expected to find a system of excersises designed for people with lung cancer. So - I spent ages looking for information on the internet - with no success. On Monday I was at Ipswich Hospital (for a blood test and chemo-therapy) and went into the Cancer Information Centre where I found Excersise after Cancer Treatment, a MacMillan Booklet. This had useful general information - AND success - - it referred to a web site for National Association of Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation . This has up-to-date links to research into cancer and excersise and much else, including a free guide on how to exercise after a cancer diagnosis. This has the advice to go for for moderate excersise - to raise the heart rate (eg 60% of 220 beats per minute - age). (This comes out as 91 for me).

I have joined the gym - conveniently located next to my flat! I also get five short sessions with a personal trainer as part of the joining deal - cool.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A chart - since November 12th

Covers the whole time since I started playing with scores and includes several days at the start when I had a long gap between the first lot of chemo and the current regimen (just vinorelbane). Compare with previous post - fun or what!
But the important thing is I am feeling better - one way and another.
It is still snowing.

A chart - since 24th November

The chart starts on 24th November and now has a trend line as calculated by Excel. I am not sure what this actually means but it gave me amusement to construct it. I have another one that shows much less improvement - it depends where I start the data series. So not only can I interpret any chart - I can construct them to show different trends from essentaially the same data.
It is snowing here.