Saturday, 28 June 2008

Pool & Barbeque

Finally got a good weekend (29° C) since setting up the pool, so we had a perfect Pool and barbecue weekend with the whole family and a few very good friends. Too much food and just the right amount of Sun.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Never forget what lurks behind

When I first started this blog I didn't think that I would make an entry everyday, but likewise I didn't think I would go three weeks without saying anything.

When I looked at the date today I was shocked that so much time had gone past, time I don't have to waste. It's funny how easily I have slipped back into the old routine of getting up for work each day, and jumping on planes for meetings here, there and everywhere and forgetting to spend enough time with family and friends. I've even noticed I'm not reading the Cancer news bulletins. Its almost as if my Tumour had never happened.

But that just isn't true; despite the improvement we saw 4 Weeks ago, I'm still taking Chemo to fight the little bleeder and losing a week in every four because of it, I'm still battling the feelings in my left hand side and still making mistakes with my speech. And today I suffered a small seizure after four weeks without any (and don't forget the pills I take to hold them at bay).

I'm convinced you have to fight Cancer mentally and physically if you are going to keep it at bay as long as possible, and that means reminding myself I have it, I must never forget it no matter how much I want to.

I think I understand why my doctors won't let me work at my day job any more than 30%, its because I have another job to do ... fight Cancer

Maybe I'll get back to my blog a bit more often too.

Friday, 6 June 2008

MRI scans results

The MRI results are in, and they look good!

The tumour has definitely shrunk. After the last scan it appeared on 3 scan slices and now its only appearing on one. I reckon that it looks smaller than when it was diagnosed 10 months ago. Both Chemo Man and Professor Nuero were there to bring me the news this afternoon and they couldn't wait to show me the results. This is the first time in the last 10 months I almost cried with joy.

More good news; they are now happy to let me drive (although still recommend against the motorbike).

There is a down side to all this; given the excellent response to the Chemo and the minimal side effects (apparently) they are recommending 3 additional Chemo cycles to keep pushing down the curve. It took me less than 30 seconds to make the decision to continue (without feeling any pressure from Carol's "you bloody better"). I still have to way up the damage the Chemo is doing to me but that is damage I'll probably never get to see, so the choice is no choice.

I talked about increasing my working week from 30% to something closer to 100% and both Chem and Neuro shook their heads violently in unison, telling me that these results are almost certainly to some extent due to not overdoing it. So sorry work chums I'm under doctors orders to keep it down (however much it might hurt).

Now I'm going to sit down for Pizza and a glass or two of wine with a big smile on my face.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The Game of Pool

You know how some days you spot a bargain as you wander around the shops or in a brochure that came through the door and before you know it you are the proud owner of the next must have widget only to find it is the start of a new unintentional hobby?

Well my next hobby started last Thursday when I bought a Pool for the garden. No, not one of those six lane jobs that you bury in the ground, but somewhat more than one of those splash pools we had for the kids. Its circular, 4m diameter, and about 1m high, allowing the whole family to have a good splash about from the inside rather than the outside.

So there we were in Jumbo (a Swiss DIY sub-superstore) and in no time at all had the box on our trolley complete with groundsheet, pool, sunshade and pump. I guess the pump should have been the first hint at lurking hobby, once I had realised it wasn't used to pump the pool up.

We had just started towards the checkout when we were hailed down and asked if we got all of our chemicals, Uhhh chemicals? The kind lady took us to the floor to ceiling display of granules, fluids and indicators all of which, it seems, are essential for the hygienic running of the pool. After scratching our heads for 15 minutes we opted for the Starter Kit and added 25% to the bill.

Things we did not observe in the heat of the purchase, No. 1:
  • Unlike paddling pools (which are emptied down the drain at the end of the day), the water in a larger pool stays there! A continually monitored concoction of (mostly dangerous) chemicals is required to keep it as it came out of the Tap.

After spending much of Saturday reading up on Pool chemistry (yes it is a subject, but I won't bore you with the links) and performing a number of calculations I felt confident I could get my PH balanced, my Chlorine at the right level to prevent removing the skin of the bather, and sufficient anti-Algae to stop them going green.

So by Sunday we were ready to put the pool up which the manual confidently told us would take 30 minutes. First step, check the ground is level to prevent "Inundation". We had a good look at the ground and it looked flat, but when we started to fill the pool we found an 8cm difference from one end to the other.

Things we did not observe in the heat of the purchase No. 2:

  • That water is heavy and with an above ground pool you need flat ground to prevent the pool bursting and sending 10 tons of water across your garden and carrying this years expensive plants with it.

Much of the rest of Sunday was spent digging up the garden to get it flat. As the sun went over the yardarm the pool was back in place and we were starting to fill it. By midday Monday (with a short break) the pool was full. This is another difference from a paddling pool.

Things we did not observe in the heat of the purchase, No. 3:

  • It takes a very very long time passing 10,000 litres of water through the eye of a Camel, or something like that.

After Lunch on Monday the chemicals went in without event, probably due to my thesis work on Saturday (see study does pay off kids). Now it was time to attach the pump (used for circulation I've discovered), which needs electricity.....and needs to be switched on three times a day for 2, 4 and 2 hours. The extension cable and setting an alarm really doesn't cut it, does it. So off to get some outdoor cable, sockets and a timer.

Things we did not observe in the heat of the purchase No. 4:

  • A purchase is always a beginning but never, never an end

Next installment: Garden Electrics including laying cables, measuring the pool chemistry for the regular (2 days - 2 weeks) additions, cleaning the pump filter (every 2 days) and changing it (every 2 weeks).

I wonder whether the nightly dream of being carried away stark naked on my bed by an unexpected inundation will ever stop.

Scientifically testing the Chlorine levels (I use taste for Algae). Note the "spare tyre" pool shape is reflected on the bathers body...curious.