Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve Preparations

The tree is decorated and the presents underneath
The smell of Sausage rolls and mince pies cooking wafts in from the kitchen
Lights, candles and decorations in reds and golds litter the house like a set from a fairytale
The houses around us and many of our friends start their Christmas celebrations Swiss style*
We will soon sit down for a Chistmas Eve dinner of Boiled Ham and pastries
At aroud Midnight my Daughter, Son-in-Law and Grandchildren complete the picture
And the preparation for the big day will be complete

I give thanks that I am here to celebrate this Christmas season with all of my family

*The Swiss open their gifts on the 24th while the English wait untill the 25th

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Fresh Christmas tree anyone?

Went into a tree plantation to choose our Christmas tree this afternoon. There is something very satisfying in clambering around the forest to find your perfect tree while it is still in the ground, cutting it down, and then dragging it out of the forest to the cashier (still have to pay for it I'm afraid). Even the grazes and mud add to the experience.

Happy Homecoming

I am happy to say that Amber came home from hospital today and should be with us over Christmas all going well. We were worried for a couple of days as it looked as though she might have contracted Crohn’s disease which is a rather nasty incurable disease, but it turns out she probably has a most curable colitis which should be got rid of with some fairly safe drugs over the next few weeks. Lovely to have you home Amber, especially with some colour in your cheeks.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Amber in Hospital

My daughter Amber has been taken into hospital today following several weeks of progressive weaknening illness. she was treated for dehydration and Potassium deficiency which improved her condition. But the doctors don't know what the cause is yet, so she is being kept in for a day or two for tests (ultrasound of the digestive system, coloscopy more blood).

Don't feel like talking about much else today.
A big get well hug to you Amber.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Happy Birthday Kayleigh

Yesterday was Kayleigh's birthday and we celebrated with lots of food first with Brunch (we do love brunches around here, I guess its just a good reason for staying in bed late) at Kayleigh's in-laws which lasted long enough to just give us time to get home and changed and then off to a Mexican restaurant in Zurich. After all that food the only thing to do was sit and watch a movie for a couple of hours (The Golden Compass, well worth a watch).

Only downer on the day was that Amber was too sick to be with us. Please get well soon Amber.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Chemo Over

The first cycle of Chemo has been over for two days now and the possible after effects have not emerged apart from the need to have a short nap in the afternoon to fend off some tiredness.

Although I feel good, that does not mean I feel perfect. I still suffer the very occasional seizures and I seem to grind my teeth for some reason. My right side always feels a bit "funny" and it's sensitivity is still up and down. I get occasional feelings of anxiety and my left eye sticks together in the mornings. Small headaches on the left side are still common.

With the falling temperatures outside I also have to make sure I wear a good hat otherwise the plate in my head gets cold and causes sharp headaches!

What is amazing is how quickly you get used to these minor health problems as being a part of your normal life. I guess that adaptability, that we all have, is something I should be thankful for, as it allows me to live a pretty normal life at the moment.

I just had a thought, when people ask me how I feel and I say I feel good what I actually mean is that mentally I'm able to handle what has been thrown at me and to still enjoy a full life, but I guess that is what all of us mean really.

My daughter Amber, on the other hand, does not feel good and has been getting progressively more sick for several weeks now and nobody can figure out why. Doctors say its bacterial so have given her Antibiotics but she continues to get worse and is now too weak to eat properly. I'm now getting seriously worried for her.

Old Colleague

Had a business and pleasure lunch today with an old colleague of mine. It was great fun talking about my favourite subject (Enterprise Architecture) for hours.

It was also fun to have another religious discussion with a serious Christian. It seems to be common interest amongst very intelligent architects and strategists, maybe I really need to take this seriously. So I have another book to read, but this one is at least is smaller than the Bible :-)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Keeping up with the Meyers

It is highly advisable when entering our Cul-de-sac at this time of the year to don one's shades for fear of permanent retinal damage. I do believe that the local power distribution centre pay special attention in case just one more magnificent pulsing reindeer or giant Father Christmas comes on line. At least in true Swiss style any flashing is very subtle, and only white lights are deemed to be acceptable. But the closer to the big day the Lumen's increase, and I'm convinced that the ambient temperature along our small lane will rise at least a degree, our own direct contribution to Global Warming.

At number 28 however we refuse to participate in this escalation and have limited ourselves to one (admittedly quite impressive) waterfall of lights on the valley side balcony with a couple of accompanying stars. Oh, and there is the recently added garland around the patio, but that's it.........perhaps after I've filled that bare patch on the other side of the patio, but then that is definitely it!
The ultimately subtle number 28

Monday, 10 December 2007

Chemo in 3rd day

Three days into the 1st (post Radiation/Chemo) Chemo cycle and I'm feeling fine.

Apart from the annoying pill regime in the mornings I'm noticing no significant side effects. I was at least expecting some nausea (as on previous occasions) but nada, so it looks like the Zofran Zydis (Ondansetron) pills work better than the Paspertin (Metoclopramide) even if they taste like pure Aspartame when they dissolve on your tongue (yuck).

Add to that only one little seizure last week, and everything seems to be going well.

Dance Event

Went to a friend's Dance School event yesterday evening. One of our friends has been tap dancing for some years and it was the big end of year show for her school. Can't think of a better way to spend a couple of hours than watching a load of good looking (mostly) women prancing around a stage, and the dancind was good too.

Indian food rounded off the evening to perfection.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Chemo Prep - So Soon

Had an appointment with Proffesor Neuro and Chemo Man today (my real life comic books heroes). This was to make sure that I'm fit enough to start the 1st cycle of chemo treatment tomorrow.

For those that have forgotten (pay attention now): I will be on 6 monthly cycles with the first cycle consisting of five days of Temodal (temozolomide) at 300mg dosage and 23 days rest. The second and subsequent cycles will consist of five days of Temodal at 400mg dosage followed by 23 days rest.

Apparently I am fit enough for my next dose of Toxins so I start with the tablets tomorrow morning an hour before food and half an hour after my anti-nausea pills (Zofran Zydis from planet puke). Oh well, just the next steps towards becoming Captain Toxic (I hope the resulting super powers are worth it)!

I have been taking enough pills recently to rattle, but there are none that upset me more than these. You wouldn't believe how hard they are to swallow, metaphorically and otherwise. The thought of what they are doing to me is in itself sickening. This is made even more difficult when I know how little our medical friends know about their effectiveness, and I know that all we are trying to do is kill the symptoms of an incurable disease.

But hey, if there is a chance the stuff can buy me another year or two, being poisoned is a small price to pay, isn't it?

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Things to do before you die

Bought a couple of books on things you should do before you die. I don't mean visit the Taj Mahal and join the mile high club although I should probably think of those too, I mean stuff like deciding how and where you want to die (yeah I know, you don't really get a choice), writing wills to avoid arguments, What are the (Swiss) laws on inheritance. How to donate organs and all those other morbid subjects.

Now all I need to do is read them and act on them........Maybe next week.

A bit of Relief

Got over the toothache on Sunday. I don't know what the cause was.
Carol's chestiness still hasn't recovered, I wish she would go to the doctor.
So we just sat around the house over the weekend (mainly reading, The Algebraist by Iain M Banks on my part) with occasional visits from various family members including the Kayleigh clan on Sunday.

Monday was the first day since August that I'd actually attended a full day of work in the local office, although I'd done odd bits of work before, they had been in the home office or one to one meetings. So, I was still worried that I wouldn't be able to "perform" in public (in this case an account planning meeting including an evening meal). I shouldn't have worried, I really enjoyed the day and found myself falling back into my old ways with no limitations to my thought processes (which is what my job is all about), and I didn't get tired one bit.

As usual there were a few people wanting to know how I was but now I have got back to how we humans usually answer that question "I'm Fine", and if they wanted to know more I brought up this blog (where they can find out anything they want to know). I hardly thought of my cancer all day, and that was the best bit.