Archives For Andrew Willis

The 18th of October. 

I think I am getting better? Very slowly. Like, I am definitely coughing less. I haven’t been quite as phlegmy today? Ohh progress is glacial. 

This morning I did a blog post, and did some more phoning to find out what’s going on with my Andrew appointment. Turns out Christine hasn’t had anything about me, but because I’ve made contact with her, she’s going to find me-related paperwork and wave it in his face so he tells her what he wants. 

After lunch, back on the crochet. Starting a Christmas present (eee!) – have to start thinking about that. Mommy and I have booked our train tickets for our annual London Christmas shopping trip. I hope I can wear more of my festive jumpers this year. 

My left eye has been protesting all day. So looking forward to going to bed and closing them. 

The 19th of October. 

I am just exhausted this evening. It’s not like I’ve been out much, or had a bad night, I’m just tired. Bleah. 

I spent my morning sewing beads to the thing I’m making for Heidi. Mommy had taken Alison to her physio appointment, and must have done something to the door, because when the veg man arrived, I couldn’t open it. It shouldn’t have been locked, but I got my keys and tried anyway. Couldn’t open it. I tried everything but it wouldn’t budge. He put the box in the porch and I yelled out the window “Sorry, I’m locked in!” When Mommy returned, she couldn’t open it from her side, so I ended up having to open the garage and let her in that way. I didn’t have to walk much, but I could barely breathe. I know I’m not well at the moment but still…I think the pneumonia has probably damaged them permanently. I suppose I’ll have to ask Dr. Thompson in November.

We had trip to St. Giles again today to try some more sleeves – not going for made-to-measure just yet. I’ve got two – one that stops at the wrist so I’ve got a glove to go with it, and one that’s the same style as my other one, both in different materials. I’m not enjoying the glove; it’s so squeezy on my fingers. 

And my eye is bad again today. Can I rest, please? Let me rest. 

The 10th of October. 

I live on the floor now. 

Nights are the same, coughing until I fall asleep, then in the morning I’m okay until it starts again. Today, I got a blog post written up, but not posted before it was necessary to lie down. 

Rosemary came for lunch and she arrived to find me on the ground, which is always fun to explain. I got up to eat, but the rest of the afternoon has been face down. I watched an episode of How to Get Away with Murder on my phone, and listened to James Arthur speak very eloquently about mental health on Radio 5. 

It is something I have long struggled with, having been diagnosed with depression at fourteen, and it has varied in severity over time. I have been medicated since I was eighteen, which helps for the most part. I still have days under the heavy cloud, sometimes they stretch into weeks, months, but they end. I know they end. And I’m forever going to deal with the demon that is anorexia which really took hold when I got “better” from cancer. I was in treatment for over a year before I decided I wanted to change. You can have all the support in the world but if you’re not ready to stop self-destructing, you won’t. I still deal with its voice, I worry about my body, how I look. But I know that is not who I am. I am the sky.

The 11th of October. 

I am so tired. I had about three hours of sleep because I was just constantly coughing, and I had to get up at seven because I had to be at hospital at nine. 

It was for my lymphoscintigram in nuclear medicine so we could finally find out if my lymphatic system is the problem in my right arm. I got called through about half nine, having alienated everyone in the waiting room with my cough. I had two injections of radioactive dye in the webbed spaces of each hand, then I had a series of x-rays to see how quickly the lymphatic system would dispose of it. Each scan took five minutes in which I had to be completely still, with my arms stretched out in front of me on the bed. I had six in total, twenty minutes after the first, forty minutes after that, an hour after that, and an hour and ten minutes after that. The final one was me standing up with the machine moved to scan my body. We were able to discern that the right side is not functioning properly, because the dye was long gone from my left arm, but had got stuck in the lymph nodes near the elbow on the right. So now I’ll see Andrew again, and we’ll make another new plan. 

We finally got home at two, had lunch, and now I’m on oxygen because I’m so drained, my sats are dipping. 

What is this rib doing? It digs into the floor and it HURTS.

The 31st of August. 

Mild improvement today? My eyes don’t hurt quite as much, and my sleep wasn’t as terrible. I suppose you can call that progress. 

This morning I had an appointment with Andrew, post-venoplasty. I showed him my still fat arm and he was very disappointed. I was surprised that he had expected it to work, frankly. The next option for him would be to put a stent in, but it would be pretty massive and made of metal, and it would stop any central venous access from my left side, which could be problematic. He has a multi-disciplinary team meeting on Tuesday with other interventional radiologists, surgeons and haematologists, and he is going to present my case to them, and see me again in six weeks. In the meantime, I’ll see Anne Dancey and the lymphoedema clinic, then we’ll see where we are. 

Popped into town afterwards where I bought some hand cream, moisturiser, and some drawers from Muji to tidy my make up area. Back home, I spent forty five minutes sitting on the floor sorting it out, which was very satisfying but very painful for my back. 

Had a breakthrough with young Hugo! I went to give the kittens some more food, and he came up to me with his brother and lay down near me, even allowing me to stroke him! I have no idea why or how, or even if it’ll happen again. I hope it wasn’t a fluke. 

The 1st of September. 

Another trip to London! This time, it was Daddy’s belated birthday present: the Pink Floyd exhibition at The V&A. Half ten train, arrived at Euston just after twelve. Train manager got the ramp for me because, quelle surprise, nobody there. We got a cab to the museum, when we met up with Christine and went to get some lunch in the café. I got a ham and Emmental baguette because everything else had spice and stuff in, then there were secret herbs in the butter that nearly made it intolerable. You think you’ll be safe!

Our tickets were for 2.30, and we had to get headphones for the exhibition (very clever, they could pick up where you were and play the appropriate audio), so we joined the queue of other organised people. We got in promptly, as did many others, so it was quite slow to get around – especially for me, as I can only move at the speed of those around me, and only see stuff when people aren’t in the way. I liked what I knew of them already, and there’s some stuff I heard that I’m going to look into more. I took a lot of photos. 

I bought two books on the way out (not Pink Floyd related) and waited for the others. They were watching the film at the end, which I had to leave because of blinding light. When they eventually emerged, we went to get coffee and cake. We decided to sit outside, which was a mistake because the wind was freezing. 

I wanted to see the Rachel Kneebone sculptures, and so Christine and I went to find those. The first one was fairly obvious, a giant column by the entrance hall, and there was a sign saying the rest were in room 21. However, once there, we could not see them. A volunteer saw that we were confused, and she went off to find out where the other sculptures were. It turns out that one of them got a bit broken, and they got taken away. She could see I was disappointed, and asked if we were interested in the Balenciaga exhibition. I said yes, but we hadn’t bought tickets. However, she said that was fine, and she’d get us in. Okay! So then we got to look around there at all the beautiful dresses. I discovered that Cristóbal and I share a birthday, and found a dress by Oscar de la Renta that I would gladly get married in. So stunning. 

We met back up with Mommy and Daddy, and it was time for us to return to our respective homes. Christine poddled off back to Twickenham, and the rest of us back to Euston. I bought some Pom Bears and a green juice for dinner, and a New Scientist to read on the way home. Pooped. 

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The 12th of July. 

Venoplasty day!

Any day in ambulatory care means getting up before six which is not ideal, but necessary. I was last to arrive in my section, but that didn’t matter because I was third on the list, so there was no rush with my admission. I didn’t expect to go down until about eleven, so I was very surprised when a porter arrived at twenty past ten. The nurses didn’t even know, so I had to quickly go pee and put my gown on. 

Across in angio, I said hi to all the team, and Mr. Singh (who put the PICC in) came to consent me. Then Andrew came and we had a chat about the plan – it was left unspoken that this is our last shot. 

On the table, I was prepped, covered, cleaned. It is a testament to the greatness of the team that I have to be essentially naked in front of the whole room for a while but at no point did I feel undignified or unsafe. My groin was ultrasounded to find the vein, but there seemed to be trouble getting into it because I heard a lot of talk about scarring, then a dilator had to be used to hold it open so the sheath could go in. Then there were issues with the wires – people had to keep getting different ones from the wall. I think it was to do with the length or the stiffness? They were having to get all the way from the groin up to my neck, which is pretty far. They did a couple of runs with the gadolinium to check everything was in the right place, then it was time for fun and sleepy drugs. I got the nice, warm fuzz, then the discomfort of having balloons inflated inside you. I think they did maybe six inflations in total? They used the two biggest balloons available, in one site in the neck vein, one in the SVC and again a little bit further down. Then everything came out, and I had the awkward five minutes where a man leans heavily on my groin to stop the bleeding and there isn’t much to say. 

I went into recovery about twenty past twelve, where I had to stay for half an hour to make sure I was fine before they’d take the PICC out. When it came to that time, the nurses had changed, and the new one hadn’t done it before, so we had to grab a doctor to do it. The nurse watched closely, but there isn’t much to learn – just pull it out, then put some pressure on the hole. Then the nurse was able to ring the ward, where a student nurse said someone would come for me. Forty five minutes later, she rang again, and the staff nurse said she hadn’t passed on the message, and came straight away. I was fine; another nurse had shared her Jelly Babies with me and I only had twenty minutes of lying flat left. 

Back in ambulatory care, I asked Mommy to get the flowers and chocolates from the car because Emelda and Tracey would be gone by the time I’d be able to, so she delivered those and then got me some coffee and a sandwich, which I was only too eager to get into my face. Then we just had two hours to kill, so I was checking the tennis and talking to Mommy about what had happened in angio and what we do now. I have to keep my arm elevated a lot and try to squeeze the fluid down. We’re going to see if the massage people at the chiro do lymphatic drainage, and if that could help me. I’m also considering acupuncture. Anything that will get this swelling to go down. Anything at all. 

By half past four, I’d got myself ready to go, so I was given my discharge letter and we were out of there. I had a ticket to hear Matt Haig talk about his new book, How to Stop Time, at Waterstones at half past six, and I needed some dinner first. I ended up having a cinnamon crêpe and a chocolate milkshake because I am an adult and I can. 

Because of the wheelchair, I had to use the lift to get to that second floor, where the event was, which meant I basically jumped the queue. However, I chose to sit at the front which was good for watching the interview, but then I was at the back of the queue for the signing. However (and I honestly don’t know why this happened), some people near the front said I could go in front of them, so I got out a lot quicker than I might have. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved Reasons to Stay Alive. I’m so excited to read this new one. 

The 13th of July. 

Trying not to get sad. I’m pretty sure the venoplasty isn’t going to have worked. I’ve spent most of my day looking for effective treatments for lymphoedema. 

I had a chiro appointment this morning, which I was very thankful for because a) my neck has been really clunky recently and b) I wanted to ask about the massage/lymphatic drainage thing. Turns out my neck muscles have been recruited to help me breathe so they’ve got all stiff, and Trine’s not sure if they do this but she’ll find out on Monday. 

When we got back, I wrote a long entry about yesterday, watched two rather short Wimbledon semi-finals, and did a lot of internet research. There are the standard treatments of drainage massage and compression garments, but honestly they don’t sound very effective. There is a chance that acupuncture may have a small amount of benefit, but I’d want to know somebody who’d had it, not just pick a random practitioner. Or there are surgical interventions, and frankly I am leaning towards those. I will try anything. I just want my arm back. I want to not feel deformed. 

The 26th of June. 

Ughhh NO PROGRESS. Rang Tracey this morning and she doesn’t even have me on her disc (whatever that means), despite saying ten days ago that she had my paperwork. She has to talk to the other person who does bookings, and they’re not in until tomorrow, so we’re ringing back tomorrow late morning/early afternoon. This is so hard. I feel like giving up. 

Mommy and Daddy have had an impromptu trip to Wales today because upon discussion last night, it was realised that today was the only day they could go. Someone had to stay behind to look after the kittens and considering what a day in the car does to my back, that was me. 

I don’t really know where my day went. I wrote up a blog post this morning, and I did some shouting at the Daily Politics before going to check on the kittens. They had put one of the mice in the litter tray, and we had a nice play until Betty decided to poo. 

To cheer myself up, I listened to the new episode of My Dad Wrote A Porno while I ate my lunch. Then I watched the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and upset myself again because it was really sad when Hope disappeared. A man came to the door with a survey, and I had nothing better to do, so I took part, answering questions about whether I trust the government and if I am concerned about being a victim of cybercrime (I don’t and I am not). I suppose the rest of my afternoon was Orphan Black on Netflix and kitten petting. Now I’ve ordered pizza and am awaiting the return of my parents. 

The 27th of June. 

First thing I did this morning was email Andrew’s secretary. She must have gone straight to him, because about five minutes later, my phone rang, and it was the man himself. I tried to explain my frustrations, and I think he understood. He said he would get Tracey to sort it out and ring me back with a date. She hasn’t yet. He also said he thinks there could be a lymphoedema element, basically he is trying to prepare me for it not to work. If that happens, I don’t think he’d do the rib-removal surgery without me seeing a specialist first. However, not a lot of doctors really understand it very well. He better have a friend he can refer me to. I am not spending another six months like this. 

So I’ve spent a lot of my day staring at my phone. Mommy and I watched last night’s Great British Menu, then she went to Grandma’s. I watched a bit more of Orphan Black, and I’m just blown away by Tatiana Maslany’s ability to play so many characters and constantly act against herself. Felix is my favourite. I could well just blast my way through this show, considering I’m already halfway through the first series. 

A family came to view the kittens this evening. A couple with their six year old daughter who want two playful kittens. Now, mine might not be super friendly, but they do love to play. I got some toys out, and soon they were selling themselves. They want Brodie and Bailey, so now we just need to chip and neuter them and they can be adopted. Then find homes for Bree and Betty! Phew.

The 23rd of May. 

Well, today has been fucking terrible. Even before I heard about Manchester, it was pretty shit because the night staff messed up my antibiotics again. For some obscure reason, they decided I had to have a vanc level done in the night before they could give it to me, and the doctor hadn’t come to take the blood by the time it was meant to go up. I told them that I didn’t need bloods doing but they refused to give me the drugs until he came. He turned up about quarter past seven, but then the nurses were in handover so nobody could do it. I sat and pressed my buzzer every fifteen minutes, getting more and more frustrated at this happening again, and I continued to get the same answer from people that so-and-so was on their way. By half past nine, I was fuming, and the staff did seem to vaguely get why I was annoyed, so finally the nurse doing the IVs came to put it up at ten to ten and I gave her short shrift. I can understand it not going up until handover was over, but for it to be three and a half hours late is just not good enough, and when I asked the nurse doing it if she would find this level of care acceptable, she couldn’t give me an answer.

So not a good start. I spoke to Andrew’s secretary because the reg I saw this morning said he hadn’t replied to the emails, and she said he was in today, but in A&E. She then rang me back later to say she’d spoken to him, and he was going to reply to the emails and he was super busy today but he would come and see me tomorrow so that is the only tiny good thing that has happened.

Obviously, over the course of the morning, information came through about the attack in Manchester last night. I have nothing poignant to say. I just remember going to shows like that, to Justin Timberlake when I was fifteen with my friends, and the chaos trying to leave a gig like that is bad. I can’t imagine the hell that unleashes when a bomb goes off. Particularly savage to target a concert where the demographic is so heavily teen and child based. I will never understand how they can be referred to as “Crusaders” when they are so innocent.

I saw the junior doctors, and they couldn’t understand why the nurses had thought I needed a vanc level doing in the night, because they were going to do one today along with my other bloods. They also re-prescribed this evening’s dose for 5 o’clock, but it’s five to eight and it still isn’t up so I’m really fucking angry, particularly as I have been talking to the nurse about it all day. This continues to happen to me and it is completely indefensible. There is prioritising and then there is straight-up not doing things and not explaining why.

Then this afternoon I had a message from Dean, and he told me that he’d had a meeting with his oncologist and surgeon and it isn’t good news. His cancer has spread and they didn’t even know about a lot of the tumours until they opened him up to take out the ones on his ribs. They have offered him chemotherapy but they aren’t optimistic about it and I knew this was probably coming but for it to be concrete is still such a blow. He is going to fight it because he has to try and he has a chance so it could absolutely work – who knows this if not me? Miracles happen and he could be one too but hearing you’re probably going to die is not something I would wish on anyone. I know how he feels and my heart aches.

The 24th of May. 

Ohh life is frustrating. Andrew has not been. And tonight my vancomycin can’t go up until my levels come back from the lab. And now I have to go to Andrew’s clinic in the morning because he didn’t come, so I need my morning dose to be through by half past eight so I’m not getting stressed about being downstairs on time.

So in medical terms, very little happened today. The doctors came round this morning but really they just wanted to see what was happening about my clinics because I was supposed to be at haematology and physio today, but we’d already sorted those out. It was a reg who I’ve not met before and apart from suggesting that they check my bloods for fungal markers because my CRP has only gone down to 35 yesterday from 37 on Sunday which is a bit shit. It’s frustrating because I feel like I could go home, I don’t want to be here anymore, but I don’t want to go too early and end up back here in a month again. I think I will ask if I can go home in the daytime at the weekend because there is no need for me to be here.

I had a nice break from the norm this afternoon because Dean and Adam came to see me. We got to talk about the shit news of yesterday, and commiserate over terrible admissions and shouty nurses. I do not ever want to have to go to Heartlands. I had my scrape there and let that be it. His chances actually sound a lot better than I thought, absolutely as good as mine were so why shouldn’t he be the one in five too? We are winners.

They had to go about four because Dean needed drugs and Adam needed to pack to go home so I made them take a cupcake each (Mommy baked them to make up for me getting upset at the nurses yesterday) and they went back to Fisher House.

The rest of the day has been spent waiting for Andrew and my blood test. Now because the bloods were done quite late, my vanc level isn’t back and I can’t have my dose. But at least tonight they are being straight with me about why I haven’t got it yet. I will buzz soon, just to see what the haps are.

The 25th of May. 

Okay. I was up early and thankfully the night staff got my vanc done and flushed off before I had to go downstairs to see Andrew. He was very unhappy about my new swelling, and now it’s spread to my face, he’s thinking we’ve got to reinflate my SVC again, super-aggressively. He said it’ll be very uncomfortable and I’ll need lots of sedation and I’m just like BRING IT ON. I don’t care, I just want it fixed. If this doesn’t work, the next option involves taking out my top rib on the right so that is very much a last resort.

Back up on the ward, I saw the doctors and told them the plan. Unfortunately, Andrew is teaching at a conference in Europe next week, then we’re away at the wedding, so in two weeks. Which is probably better for me because it means that I’ll have recovered a bit from this whole debacle. The respiratory team want to start me on Voriconazole, which I used to be on, a few years ago, in case I do have a fungal infection, so when those pills come up, I can start. Have to carry on with the vancomycin for at least three more days, ugh. But they were happy for me to go home in the daytime and just return for evening drugs, so that is what we did.

Admittedly, we only had about three hours at home by the time we got back, but it was still nice. I got to pet Sam, who was very happy to see some people in the daytime, and I got my lap drooled on. Lovely. We watched the penultimate episode of Criminal Minds, then Mommy put out the washing and I watched The Magicians. Then we hopped in the car and drove on back.

When we arrived, I realised the WiFi was down, which was boring, but my vanc got put up and I sent Mommy back home. And it seemed she just got out in time because pretty much immediately after that, lots more armed police arrived (there have been a couple milling about since Manchester but only two) and they stopped all traffic going in and out, public and staff. It was very dramatic. Nobody knew what was going on, and I could see very little from my window, just a police officer in the road and a car blocking traffic. The police helicopter flew around all evening. After about an hour, the cars started to move again and people were allowed to leave, and the nurse looking after me said that apparently there had been a “suspicious package”, but it cannot have amounted to much. A statement was put out later to say that no one had been arrested and everything was fine, but it was an interesting way to spend an evening. I’m not sure how I’d have felt had we actually been in any danger, so let’s be grateful that we’re safe.

The 26th of May. 

Today did not start off well. By eight o’clock, I should have been having my vancomycin, even been flushed off. However, it had not started, and when I asked why, the nurses said they couldn’t do it until I’d had a level taken. This made no sense to me, as I had quite a detailed chat with the doctors yesterday about when my next level would be taken and it was going to be on Saturday, after my morning dose. I explained this to my nurse, but she couldn’t give it to me anyway because she isn’t PICC line trained, so I asked her to send the sister to speak to me. However, the next person to come in was doctor Maria, who is one of Ben’s team and she is lovely. Apparently the nurses had essentially grabbed her as soon as she came in and been like YOU NEED TO MAKE A PLAN and were very rude to her! The problem is that the nurses think you have to do a vanc level every 3 doses, but actually, it’s every 3-6, and seeing as my renal function is fine and they’re not worried about me, every 6 doses is perfectly okay. They write in the notes when they want one doing, but because she didn’t document our conversation that the next level will be done on Saturday, the staff overnight arbitrarily decided I had to have one despite it not being requested. So we talked and she’s going to write in my notes that I’m to have a level done on Saturday and on Monday and that is enough, and then they were happy to come and give me my IV. Jesus.

I had to see the ward pharmacist, because some drugs were missing from my order that came up, and thankfully she came up very quickly and said she would sort that out. However, a pharmacy bag has appeared in my room and they’ve only given me one of the three drugs I asked for. Why?!

Anyway. We went home again for the afternoon, and had a bit more time today. We watched the last Criminal Minds (I cannot believe they left it like that, what utter bastards), then it was time to wash my hair! It hasn’t been done for three weeks so it feels much better now. Climbing the stairs was fucking horrific though. Not looking forward to doing that again.

Back downstairs, I sat with Sam for a bit again, and he kneaded the bare skin of my knees until I had to get a blanket to protect myself. It also stopped him drooling on me which is preferable. I watched two episodes of Helix and he purred away, looking up at me with his only fang poking out. Bless him.

Tonight, the care on the ward is not ideal. My vanc has taken two hours for some reason, and the nurse went to get a flush over an hour ago and the auxiliary I asked about it didn’t really seem to give a shit. Going to press my buzzer again in ten minutes. I think it’s going to be a long night.

The 27th of May. 

My day started with much confusion because after confirming that my vanc level would be done this morning, that actually meant pre-dose, so one of my doctors came to wake me up at about 7 to stab me in the wrist before they could put the infusion up. She was lamenting the state of my veins and I told her about how they were back in 2013 when I was being constantly cannulated and my hands just gave up. They’ve been worse, but I’ve only got one hand available and it can’t take much more.

I got my cipro when the nurse flushed me off, so when Daddy arrived at ten o’clock, I was dressed and pretty much ready to go.

So I have spent lots of my day at home! I got to have a coffee that was actually nice, and I ate some food that hadn’t been wrapped in clingfilm. For the majority of my time, I sat in the back room with the kitty. He has been a bit deprived of contact since I’ve been in, so I thought I would spoil him. Second series of Helix on Netflix and I gave him lots of brushes. Mommy said he’s been unhappy when she’s done it a couple of times but he was fine with me. Stupid cat.

I found out when I emerged just after 5 that Daddy had started having one of his labyrinthitis episodes and had been vomiting for the past hour, and every time he tried to take a tablet to calm it down, he threw it up. Poor Daddy. I felt very bad having to leave him on his own so Mommy could bring me back to hospital. She stayed just until my vanc had gone up, then she was off straight away. I do hope she found him better than when we left.

Just got to get my cipro from the nurses tonight, then I can hopefully go to bed at a reasonable time. But it’s a Bank Holiday weekend night shift so who might be on is anybody’s guess.

The 28th of May. 

Last night was surprisingly not terrible. Emily was on and she is good. She gave me my cipro when she flushed me off, so I could go to bed when I was ready.

My blood pressure became quite alarming, because I’ve had to stop one of the drugs that lowers it as it interacts with Voriconazole. However, when the doctor came, it had returned to normal, and this morning it was good again, so they decided not to do anything. But now it’s high again so we’ll have to watch it and perhaps tomorrow we might have to rethink my regime.

Since I didn’t have to wait to see any doctors, Mommy came to pick me up at twelve, after she’d taken Grandma home from church. Daddy was feeling better, albeit delicate, so we watched the Grand Prix while he ate some porridge and I had scrambled eggs on a muffin. Needed a bit of iron as I noticed on my bloods, my haemoglobin had gone down to 9.2 which isn’t great. Also my CRP has gone back up to 39, but my white cells have come down to 11.2, so I don’t understand what’s going on but I don’t see how they can justify keeping me on the vanc any longer when it clearly isn’t doing anything anymore.

I spent the remainder of my time at home sitting with the kitty. We may have a potential adopter for him, and if we can get him rehomed before we have to go away that would be excellent. He will make a very happy companion for someone. I continued with Helix, to the point where Netflix asked if I was still there. Rude.

Now back in my cubicle and the day staff didn’t manage to get my IV up before handover, so I’ll have to see if the night nurses can get on it. I don’t suppose I will be lucky enough to get Emily two nights on the trot.

The 3rd of May.

I have been putting this off because writing it down makes it real.

It’s been a pretty quiet, mildly shitty day. I still have this stupid dry cough which wakes me up throughout the night, although my throat is less scratchy now, which I suppose is a plus.

We went into Birmingham this morning so I could pick up my copy of the new Jeffery Deaver novel, The Burial Hour. I also needed to get a thank you card to give James tomorrow when we have our last ever appointment, and Mommy wanted a blank card to put a cross-stitch in but couldn’t find one.

This afternoon, I phoned Andrew’s secretary, Emelda, again, but he hadn’t got back to her and there were no spaces in his clinics until the beginning or end of June. At this point I got upset and I tried to explain about the wedding. I didn’t do it on purpose, but she then said she’d keep trying for me and I’d hear back as soon as she spoke to him.

Mommy then went to Grandma’s, and I watched the new Pretty Little Liars and started the book. Mid-programme, Emelda called me back, and I’ve got an appointment for 25th May, so I will “go to the ball”, as she put it. I didn’t tell her that really I need to see him much sooner because she’s obviously pulled strings to get me in there, but I’m going to have to attend the wedding in my wheelchair, on oxygen and with a giant, swollen arm. I am so tired of this. My hateful body.

The 4th of May.

Nothing like bad news from a friend to prompt a reality check. Dean had his operation on Wednesday to remove the tumour on his rib. That part went as predicted, but what the had not expected was to find new tumours elsewhere that weren’t visible on his scan four weeks ago. Obviously this has been a shock to everyone, so they don’t know what the plan will be. I am just devastated for him, for Adam, and his family. I know how it feels to relapse but he hasn’t even been in remission yet. He knows I am here, for whatever he needs, This is the worst of days.

Up until hearing this news, I was having a pretty good day. I don’t think I have coughed so much today, but I won’t get my hopes up about improvement just yet. I had an appointment at Black Sheep to see James to re-tone my hair, my last session with him! I gave him his crocheted monkey and a card with a rainbow sheep on – I thought it was the most appropriate. I was not there for so long today, he was just going over the colour again, so now I’m a bit more vibrant. It has been our best work.

Home briefly, then back out, to the QE for my physio assessment. They were very on time, so I had barely started reading my book before I was called through. I filled in a questionnaire about my pain, then a chap came to see me. We talked a little bit about medical stuff and my current limitations re: oxygen, then he wanted to see what I could do. He had me stand up and bend forwards and backwards, then sit on the bed and twist left and right. Apparently I am quite stiff when going backwards and left. I then had to lie back and do some stuff with my pelvis and legs. Basically, he can give me some exercises/stretches to try out for a few weeks, then I’ll go back and we’ll see what progress has been made. He was very impressed with my enthusiasm and determination, which made me laugh because I used to be so terrible with physios, always pretending to be asleep when they came. I learned the hard way that that is not helpful.