The 23rd of September. 

I can move much better today. Not completely normally, but much improved. It’s only taken three days to recover. 

This morning I was not in a great mood, I think because I had a terrifying dream about Voldemort. Never found him scary but obviously my brain came up with something. I wrote up a blog post and booked tickets for Daddy and I to go and see The Magnificent Seven this afternoon, then crocheted two squares of the patchwork blanket I’m making. 

After lunch, we went to the cinema. It was not the best trip. In WHSmiths, I went to buy some chocolate buttons to eat during the film. However, there were none to be seen. I asked the man at the counter, who had to go in the back to find some, and this was fine, if time-consuming. I became irked when we had to phone someone to accompany us in the lift because it seems the public can’t use them alone. Then the machine wouldn’t let me pick up our tickets and we had to go to a counter. In front of us were an old couple having a very long discussion with the man serving, and I eventually gleaned that they were buying tickets for a screening on the 27th of November. They were taking forever and I sat behind them doing passive-aggressive sighs until they were done. Finally we got our tickets and went into the screen, where the only other two people there were sitting right behind us. When the film started, they were still talking, so I turned around and stared at them until they shut up. 

The film itself is great fun. A good old-fashioned, rootin’-tootin’, sharp-shootin’ Western. Denzel Washington does some fancy horse riding, and I greatly enjoyed Martin Sensmeier’s cheekbones. If it’s your kind of thing, I recommend it. 

The 24th of September. 

Waiting for a potential adopter to come and see Rufus. She said “after 5pm” and it’s nearly twenty five past six. She just phoned and said she’ll be 15-20 minutes. I hope she makes a better impression in person because currently I’m annoyed that I’ll probably miss Ed Balls dancing. 

I spent my morning in my very cosy new pyjamas – I got them in the 40% off sale in Gap and they are so soft; I am as snug as a bug in soft pyjamas. Read the paper and did appallingly at the puzzles while waiting for the result of the Labour leadership election. Delighted that Jeremy won, as expected. I voted for him, as did everyone else I know, but that usually means I’m wrapped in a bubble that isn’t reflective of the electorate. Not so, this time!

This afternoon I crocheted some more squares, and redesigned my blog (as you may have noticed). The colour scheme is the same as that of my business card. Now I’m sat waiting for this lady to arrive with her five year old who’s just been at a birthday party. 

*time passes*

Well, they’ve just left and it went surprisingly well! Rufus hid at first, but he came out and happily smelled their hands and played with them. They seem to be pretty keen, so I await confirmation. And I haven’t missed Ed Balls!

The 21st of September. 

Yeah everything hurts. Literally every muscle. I just got stuck in the middle of the living room because it hurt so much to move my legs. Mommy has found it all vastly amusing and has been laughing at me all day. 

This morning I did very little seeing as moving was so agonising, but this afternoon I had to extricate myself from the armchair because we had to go to the GP for our flu jabs. When we arrived, they weren’t actually open yet and people were queueing outside. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long before they opened the doors to let us in. We were told to have our left arms ready and Helen called our names. We both got jabbed and off we went!

When we got home, I looked into the whole blog-hosting thing, and it seems that SquareSpace don’t do domain transfers yet. Seeing as I just got a bunch of business cards made with my website address on, I kind of need to keep it. I still think I’m going to do an overhaul of the site but that can wait. 

When I came back downstairs, we watched the final episode of One of Us (I worked out the twist about two minutes before it was revealed) and I complained about being freezing. Thermal vest, jumper and cardigan. 

The 22nd of September. 

Today has been marginally better. My movement is about 2% better. Seriously, I am broken. I have actually tried not to move because I can feel how stiff I am and I know when I do have to get out of my chair, it’s going to be excruciating. 

Our only trip out today was to the Women’s Hospital for my follow-up appointment with the specialist nurse to see how I’m getting on with the dilators. She is very punctual – 1.45 on the dot she called me in, I didn’t even have time to open my book! She asked how it was going and I said not well; I am still on the first one and feel like I’ve made no progress at all. She asked a couple of questions to make sure I’d been doing it right and I have, so we had to go to an examination room. Jeans and pants off (with difficulty), legs akimbo, and she had a feel (it was more professional than this sounds). She said it feels quite badly stenosed, which is something you can get from radiotherapy or chronic GvHD, but to determine as to whether it’s that or muscle spasm, I’m going to have to have a general anaesthetic to be examined. So that’s fun. I do like the magic liquid sleep. 

Since getting home, I have stayed in the armchair and crocheted. I really want to stretch out on the floor but I’m not sure I could get up again. 

The 19th of September. 

It’s been about fifteen degrees today, yet I am wearing a thermal t-shirt, a jumper and a long cardigan. When it gets actually cold I think I will literally perish. 

When we went out this morning to the dental hospital, at home it didn’t feel cold enough to warrant a jacket, but in Edgbaston it was raining and freezing. Then inside, their “natural ventilation” air conditioning was going and it felt like a howling gale. I was having to hold the pages of my book down to stop them from blowing over. I was called in and saw Mrs. Richards straight away, no minions today, so we had a chat about how I am, she looked at my mouth, and I’ll go back in three months (which happens to be the ninth anniversary of my first transplant). No surprise tongue injections today!

Popped into town on the way home – I needed some pens from Muji, a new hoodie for the gym (I’m going back tomorrow eee) and some cotton wool pads. Also went to Pret for one of their chocolate chip cookies and a flat white to warm me up, which the chap very kindly wrapped a napkin round because it was very hot. Bless. 

This afternoon I’ve weaved in all the ends of my snood and fought the urge to nap. Trying would only make me sleepier anyway so it would be fruitless. Hopefully I will sleep well tomorrow night after my return to the gym!

The 20th of September. 

I am going to hurt tomorrow, as I had my first session back at the gym today and it was haaard. But more about that later. 

I was surprised to find that Daddy had gone to work this morning seeing as he was throwing up again last night. But apparently he felt okay and he’s not called so assuming he’s been fine. I put my gym clothes on so I had no excuse not to go, and did some research into moving my blog from WordPress to SquareSpace. It’s quite easy to move the blog across, it’s the photos that are an issue. If I decide to do it, I think I’ll have to spend another day in front of the computer. 

After lunch, Mommy took Grandma to fellowship, then when she got back I leapt into the car and to the gym we went. My card had not been unfrozen which was awkward but it got fixed, and I just have to pay the balance for September next time. Then I discovered that my heart rate monitor has died which was most inconvenient. Bah. Anyway, I went through my usual routine in a rather low-key fashion. It’s going to take a while for me to get back to where I was. I saw Vlad and explained that I can’t train with him right now, but he’s going to help me come up with a routine for my core. Lots of planks methinks. I didn’t see anyone I hate, just the girl I am incredibly jealous of because she has the most phenomenal body I have ever seen in real life. I want to be her friend but also I am very intimidated by her. 

And Brangelina! I am loving all the petty Jennifer Aniston gifs on Twitter (even though I very much doubt she cares).

The 17th of September. 

And we are back to it being freezing. I do like getting to wear fluffy, snuggly jumpers but if we could have that kind of season without my fingers feeling like icicles that that would be great. The thermal bed socks will be coming out very soon I think. 

No sitting in front of the computer today – I had a better night, spent my morning with the weekend Guardian and enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t having to plug my phone in after using it for ten minutes. 

I had another one of my rainbow bagels for lunch because apparently the bakery man at M&S hadn’t made any pretzels today, then spent my afternoon waiting for Shaki to appear so she could give me Rufus’ paperwork and trim his pointy, pointy claws. She finally turned up an hour and a half late and it seemed the text she’d sent didn’t arrive, and Rufus was friendly enough but we couldn’t get hold of him. Still not a fan of being picked up which just means I have to do it more, to get him used to it. More injuries ahead!

The 18th of September. 

Last night I was so cold I had my duvet, blanket and dressing gown on. And my electric blanket to begin with. I’ve already got my full-length pyjama bottoms on, I think the long sleeves are going to have to come out too. Even the towel rail thinks it’s cold enough to try and warm up. 

This morning was Sunday Brunch and looking at Christmas crochet patterns. Got to decide on what I’m making people for presents (plus some other cute things), and I got an email about a sale, so some wool for gifts is on its way! I have two planned – working out what to make Mommy is hard because I have to be able to do it in secret. It’s fine. I have time. 

This afternoon, I watched several episodes of my new favourite show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Rebecca Bunch is my spirit animal), and I designed myself a business card. I keep meeting people at things and not having anything to give them but soon that will no longer be a problem!

Hoping Rufus has eaten all his lunch. He is such a finicky eater. Nobody is interested in him! Poor kitty. 

The 15th of September. 

A decidedly less great day. I woke up so excited and full of beans because today was the day I was finally going to get some answers about my back, but now I just feel tired and deflated. 

This morning I wrote about yesterday, then was at the chiro again. My neck needed some serious attention, and I promised I’d let Trine know how my appointment with Mr. Harland this afternoon went. 

We went home for about forty five minutes, then back out to The Spire to finally see the surgeon and get some answers. I had a little bit of time to read my book before he called me in, but I was very ready when he did. We talked a little bit about my background, then he showed us my scan pictures (I wish I’d taken photos now) and talked us through them. It is the discs that are causing my pain – the ones at the top are okay, but as you go down my spine, they get thinner and thinner, down to about a fifth of the size they should be, and are now just a couple of millimetres thick. At the very bottom, it looks like two of the vertebrae are on their way to fusing together, and what’s left of the discs is prolapsing. He’s never seen scans of a back like mine belonging to a 25 year old. Maybe a 50 year old. Of course. And it turns out, there’s no surgery he can do to fix it. I’m being referred to the pain team and their physio, who will hopefully have a solution for the agony. Maybe pills, maybe patches, maybe steroid injections into my spine, we’ll see. I’m disappointed because I was really hoping for something more immediate. It might get better when the bones fuse, I’ll definitely get stiffer, and that’s it. No real cause – not steroids, just a case of bad genes and bad luck. I’m an unfixable disaster. 

The 16th of September. 

This is not going to be an exciting entry. I had a really bad night; awake on and off since 3am. Maybe it was the incredibly noisy weather, I don’t know. It was not good. 

I emerged from my bedroom at half past eight, and spent my morning getting my phone ready to back up so such my new one was delivered I could get started setting it up. It did not go to plan. 

Everything ran rather slowly. I only started trying to back up the current phone after lunch, and I have been sat at the computer all afternoon. The first backup, during which I watched Bad Neighbours (I give it 3 stars), failed for some reason, then the second go took the entirety of 22 Jump Street (3.5 stars) and I thought that had failed too. However, when I went to try a third time, it appeared that a backup had been made and I could finally start on the new one!

My time has not been totally wasted – I have finished the snood I’ve been working on. It’s very long and so will keep my face warm and snuggly. 

Anyway. Back to work. I suspect I will be here all evening. 

The 13th of September. 

I have had just the most perfect day. So happy. I got up and had time to write up a post before we had to leave for the station, where I got a flat white from Starbucks that did not taste like garbage, and got settled on the train. My plug sockets weren’t working which was not ideal, but a nice man at the next table down let me use his spare one to charge my phone. 

The man with the ramp was very prompt for once, so I swiftly alighted and got a taxi to Kaffeine where I was meeting Suzi. The cabbie was very chirpy, whistling a happy tune as we made our way through the traffic and I was only a tiny bit late. We sat outside because it was a) gorgeous weather and b) much easier than wrestling the wheelchair inside, and we basked in the sunshine. I had a really excellent dark chocolate brownie and flat white by the way, I would recommend. I elaborated on what the event tonight was, and told her about the situation with my back, and she caught me up on how Edinburgh had gone, and explained what she’s working on at the moment which all sounds very promising and I’m excited for her. While we were sitting, a man walked past us into the shop, and I said “That guy looks like Dexter” (as in, Michael C. Hall from Dexter) and she said “That is Dexter!” so that was my London celeb-spot for the day. No idea why he’s here but whatever. I was later reminded that he had a stem cell transplant a while ago and I should’ve got him to come tonight. I am not quick-thinking enough. She had to leave at quarter past one, but was going in the same direction as me, so we headed towards Selfridges until she had to split off to go to her meeting. It was so nice to catch up; she is such a babe. 

In Selfridges I bought some rainbow bagels and a cinnabon, which I ate in the Starbucks on level 4 while listening to an hour long podcast to kill some time. I had a browse of the book section, where I had to disappoint a girl who wanted to know where I got my hair done. Sorry, you have to travel to Birmingham for this. 

I gave myself plenty of time to get to Zizzi where I was meeting Lauren for dinner, and had a few stops on the way. I went past Workshop Coffee where I bought some Square Mile Sweet Shop beans, and then made a stop in Konditor and Cook for two brownies – I was very restrained. That was just round the corner from the restaurant, and I was only about ten minutes early, so they let me sit down and peruse the menu while I waited. When she arrived, we pretty much ordered straightaway, and our pizzas arrived very quickly. I was still quite full from all the cake, so I only managed about a third of mine, but it was fine, I took the rest away in a box. We got to talk about her joy at finishing her MA and being able to read books for fun, and how her nan is having a great holiday in Ireland with all her friends. 

We paid, then had to find our way to the BMA. First we went the wrong way, but Google Maps put us back on the right track. We met up with Amy outside her office building which is basically next door, and we had a tiny group hang before Lauren went to meet her other friend and Amy and I went into the BMA. We picked up our passes and followed the signs that said Anthony Nolan. I had to get in a teeny tiny lift to get down to the room we were using, although we then very quickly left it to go into the attached garden. Ben was out there with a large folder of papers, and he said hi before going to greet guests. Amy and I sat at a table in a slightly shaded area, and various people gravitated towards us for chats. Some Anthony Nolan people I knew like Richard and Henny, some I didn’t, Charlie Craddock, and we had a delightful time discussing podcasts with a guy called Owen who’s a donor and his friend. They’re doing the Birmingham half-marathon in October but not to raise any money, they’re saving that for the full marathon that comes next. I also briefly got to meet Alice Byron’s dad, and we talked jaundice and liver drugs, then before we could talk more we were being ushered inside for speeches. First Henny, then Charlie, then me. It was fine, much better when I had it written out, and much less crying this time. Lots of people came to speak to me afterwards, including Nadia Martini, Yaser’s sister, so it was super nice to meet her, and I spoke to other people who’d had transplants or had family members who had. Everyone told me how inspiring I was, and Ben presented me with some beautiful flowers. At nine, it finished, so I said all my goodbyes, and Amy and I headed back to Euston where I gave a homeless man my box of pizza. She sat with me until her train came, then mine was delayed by fifteen minutes, so by the time we pulled into New Street, I was more than ready to be home. Toast, then bed. 

The 14th of September. 

Didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked because I had an appointment to get my hair cut at quarter past ten. While I was in Starbucks yesterday I just had the overwhelming urge to chop it all off again and lo, it is done. Wonderful Michaela. She’s undercut the sides and it’s longer on top so I look a bit shaggy in a good way. So glad it’s done. 

When I got home, I had lunch which included the fudgepacker brownie I bought at Konditor and Cook, then I sat for about an hour, writing about yesterday. So much to say!

One of the effects of me sitting down all day was that my feet had puffed up with fluid. My back is actually not terrible, I think because I got out of my chair as much as possible, but there has to be some sort of punishment for going out. To try and combat it, I went up to my bedroom where I lay on my back with my legs up against the wall, trying to drain the fluid out of my feet while I watched the first episode of American Horror Story. We’ll see how that goes – if it gets too scary, I’ll find something else. 

Back out this evening for an Old Hallfieldians reunion. The traffic was ghastly, so I was half an hour late, but when I arrived, Celia was the only one there. After some sleuthing, we determined that the MailChimp email didn’t go out. Thankfully, other people did start to arrive, but most excitingly, my friend Steph came! I have known her since we were five but haven’t seen her since we were sixteen as she went to Rugby for sixth form, then university in Nottingham and New York, and has been travelling since then. 

She’s an artist now, and has been artist in residence at The Met in New York and The Museum of Tomorrow in Brazil, so she’s just a bit great. She’s back in England for a month, so she and her mum came to the pub and we had dinner while chatting about life now and back then. Things like the controversy of the elocution competition, the school play of Sleeping Jack Whittington and the Seven Bears, and the time we did an assembly in which I had to wear Steph’s mum’s fox fur coat. No idea what I was meant to be, but it was huge and really soft. Such random things I remember. 

We left just after nine, and I gave her the biggest hug I could muster. Not leaving it ten years until next time!

The 11th of September. 

Going to apologise here for what is probably going to be a very boring entry. 

I slept badly again. Not to begin with – Sadie’s put me onto this podcast called Myths and Legends which is really good to fall asleep to, so no problems there. No, I was just kind of awake from about seven for no particular reason. Bah.

This morning I blogged while watching Sunday Brunch, and all afternoon I’ve been sat in front of my computer, watching Jessica Jones (finished season 1) and backing up my phone. Well, that’s not technically accurate: first I tried splitting a huge photo album into three sharing folders, but after an hour and a half, it failed. Then I imported all the photos from my phone that weren’t in the computer already, and now it’s copying the last backup of my phone so I can delete it and make a new backup. It said it would take several hours, so I’ve left it and will check back later tonight. I am somewhat concerned that it’s going to have taken a toll on my back but I did everything I could to support it so hopefully I won’t suffer too much. Maybe I’ll lie on the floor a lot this evening. God I hope my appointment on Thursday isn’t a disappointment. 

The 12th of September. 

Going to be another unexciting one I’m afraid. But tomorrow is going to be lots of fun so bear with me until then. 

More photo admin. Really trying to streamline what I have because there are so many unnecessary/duplicate photos and they take up too much space! As exciting as getting a new phone is, the sorting out of stuff beforehand is so very dull. I will probably at some point sit and go through them, deleting all the crap. What a fun day that will be. 

Also been prepping some stuff for tomorrow – printed out the assistance emails and what I’m going to say, and I tried on what I was planning on wearing to see how it looked. Very glad I did as it did not work, so then I tried on lots of other things until I’d made a decision and was very out of breath. Sorted out where and when I’m meeting Suzi and Lauren respectively and I will be meeting up with Amy too, so I am super excited to see all my babes! I’ve brought my other handbag downstairs and have transferred all the important things into it, so the only things I have left to do will happen in the morning.