Sunday, 18 November 2012

Busy getting cured

As usual, my blog is taking a back seat. Much of this is due to various types of therapy radio, chemo, speech (including reading) and occupational.

But first I need to congratulate Carol on her belated (21st October) Birthday, so her it goes......... Happy Birthday Carol ......... A very nice surprise around Carol's celebration was a visit from my little sister Marion and her daughter, my niece Claire. This was the first we have seen her in Switzerland for 20 years!


I started radiotherapy with concurrent chemo on 10th October. About the only difference since my radiotherapy back in 2007 was the mask had been improved to incorporate a dentat holder which improves the position accuracy and removes the nose hole for breathing. I will try and get a picture of me in the new mask if I can. See the previous blog entries for how it was 5 years ago.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The Chemo Man (Oncologist)

Concurrent Radiation and Chemo therapy

Radiation Therapy Ends

I started off on the Radiotherapy badly, I decided to try taking the Chemo before going to bed with the idea that any nausea I would have would be hidden by sleep. This was a big mistake, at around 3am in the morning I woke up and had to go straight to the bathroom to empty my stomach. This continued on an off until around lunch time. I was not sure wether or not this was caused by the regime or chemo body shock, but either way going (back) to the old trusted, morning regime, seemed to fixed the serious nausea, and I have not seen anything like that since.

I had thought that the side effecs were worse this time around; Nausea and radiotherapie burns, but looking back to the blog I can see that, as Carol had already said, that is just not true. In fact the only thing that is worse is my head sore all over due to, not only the burns on both sides, but also the scalp scars soreness. These keep me awake at nite.

Well at least there is only another week to go before The radio therapy ends and I get a few weeks reprieve from chemo.

Otha Therapies

By now I should have been doing regular Speech, Occupational and Neurological therapies, but due to a cock-up at the hospital my insurer has only just given their permission. So I have only just started speech therapy last week. The first couple of sessions were more about analysis rarther than therapy but finally I got a useful tool today. This was a simple tool that forces you to contextualize a sentence by covering up the bottom of the sentence while trying to read it. This lack of information forces you to take into the sentence context to fill out the missing information. I was sceptical at first but after a few sentences is really started to improve my reading.

Printed page to Speech

Earlier I had mentioned a dream tool for OCR to speach. In fact it turns out I can actually build up this using a couple of iPhone apps. The first is an OCR app called TextGrabber that uses the built in Camera (or existing photo), the second piece is the iPhone built-in Text to speech. I was astounded at how OCR has improved over the past few years when I last used it. The really cool feature of TextGrabber is built in language translation, so I can scan a German document and speak back in English!

Of course this solution is not perfect due to the camera weekness. If I use a scan from my scanner transfered via PhotoStream the OCR is almost perfect but a lot less convenient than the camera. That said we are talking a CHF3 ($3) iPhone app versus a CHF80 equivalent Mac app.

The Wall

No not the Pink Floyd album, a real wall. Over the last 6 weeks we have had builders / gardeners replacing a 40m (30m x 10m) retaining wall around our garden. I wanted to get a new car this year but we had to do this instead because The old one was falling down. I'd like to thank the workmen for doing such a great job (amazing eh) and our neighbours for put-ing up with this work except those neighbours who stole a big chunk of our garden.

Just about me

Very very tired,
tired of traveling to hospital,
tired of radiotherapy,
tired of the pills,
tired of trying to read,
tired that I can not read,
tired this blog takes 10 times than it used to,
tired of having to ask for help,
tired of what is till to come,
tired of not sleeping,
just simply tired of life but...….
The glimpse of life at the end of the tunnel makes it worthwile.