Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Relatively good news - an X-Ray shows no obvious progression of the disease.  Pending the results of a CT scan, the plan is to persist with Caelyx with the addition of Zometa to address H's bone pain.

H is much happier - that's not just the X-Ray result, but also she's adjusted to her lowered expectations, and being with her colleagues at work makes her address her condition as a doctor more than a patient.


In the last few days H's back and rib pain has spread.  This is bad in itself, but worse it suggests that the chemo isn't working.  H, who has been amazingly strong up to now, is struggling to cope with it.

We're seeing the oncologist today.  H is due for another dose of Caelyx tomorrow, but there may be a change of treatment plan.


Last Wednesday I went into the office and was given 12 weeks' notice of redundancy, together with an offer of nearly a year's salary.  I'm not required to turn up for work in the meantime.  My employer will pay for a lawyer to look at the offer.  It all seems fair enough, but I'll see if the lawyer has anything to say.

During the interview the HR guy couldn't help telling me that he's being made redundant too - not voluntarily, but he seemed ok about it.  The next day I got an email saying that my boss will be leaving the company "to pursue other opportunities".  He has lost a political fight.  I am well out of it.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

At Risk

I'm taking voluntary redundancy from my job in the City - the terms are generous enough and I wasn't planning to work till I dropped in any case.  My motivation to do the work has disappeared, so there wasn't really a choice to be made.  For the time being at least I will spend time with my family - I'm not finding it hard to fill the days.

Officially I am currently "at risk" of redundancy.  I've got two weeks to find another role internally.


H is being treated with Caelyx (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin), given once every three weeks.  (The initial plan was to give it every four weeks because her blood platelet count was low, but it's recovered.)  She's had two treatments so far, most recently a week ago.  So far she's tolerated it quite well, and it seems to have made the lump on her scalp softer.

The drug is administered in the hospital's Oncology Outpatient department.  The nurse inserts a cannula in the back of H's hand, and she gets 20mg of Dexamethasone (a corticosteroid) before the Caelyx.  This is a large dose, primarily against anaphylactic shock, but also to reduce swelling of the tumour close to her spinal cord.  The drugs are pumped into her from plastic drip bags, interspersed with bags of glucose solutions to flush the lines and her veins.  The whole procedure takes about two and a half hours.

After the first treatment I collected a big bag of TTOs (drugs To Take Out) for her from the hospital pharmacy.  More dexamethasone, and various drugs to mitigate the side-effects of the chemotherapy.

A week after her first treatment, she spent a night in hospital with a temperature, but it turned out to be nothing serious.

Her skin reaction to the radiotherapy was mild - it looked like a touch of sunburn - but it came back much worse after the first dose of chemotherapy.  I learn that this "radiation recall" effect is well-known to oncologists.  We've treated it with E45 cream.

This week H is tired but otherwise ok.  She's been running and rowing, and we've planned a cycle ride together for tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Honeymoon

We went to the Maldives for eight days (not including a day travelling).  It was perfect.

Medical advice (from H) was that business-class flights would be required.  Plus a luxury villa, excellent food and wine, diving for me, spa treatments for her...

I felt slightly guilty for the first two days about leaving I&S behind, until I found out from the emails that they were getting much more attention staying with my relatives (thank you).

The Wedding

The wedding was great fun.  It's not so hard to do if you've got enough money and you don't care about the napkin rings.  Now that I'm an old hand, I recommend:

  • Do it if you know you want to
  • Write your own vows
  • Include the children, if any
  • Treat the reception as a party for your friends and family

May the Fourth be with you

I seem to have taken a break.  I'll post a few things to catch up...