Archives For breathlessness

The 4th of February. 

I do not like diuretics one bit. So much peeing. If this makes no difference to my arm in a couple of days I will be rather annoyed. More annoyed, I should say. I’d really like to wear jumpers that aren’t massive and coats that are actually warm. Sigh. 

Blog post this morning during Saturday Kitchen, then I had to be at Lyn’s house at twelve for another Cats Protection meeting. Part of it involved going down her garden, so I stayed in the house and made friends with her big black kitty. Very soft and floofy but also moulty, like Oscar was. 

It wasn’t a long one, but I was still quite hungry for my lunch when we got back. Then this afternoon, we have made Nigella’s quadruple chocolate loaf cake. It is a behemoth. 

Today is World Cancer Day, and I’ve been wearing my Anthony Nolan Unity Band. I can’t quite believe this year is ten years since I was diagnosed. I don’t know what I expected my life to be at this point – I suppose I thought I’d be fine, or dead. Certainly not this weird, in-between state, constantly breaking down in ever more creative ways. Sure, I’d like to be fine, but I don’t want to give up the good things in my life for that and I think I’d have to. I’m willing to pay this price. 

The 5th of February. 

If it’s not one thing it’s another. The arm is still exactly the same, and my back is really bad – the right side of my lower ribcage is super stiff, so deep breaths are a problem, standing and walking are even worse than usual. God I wish the bloody pain team would just give me an appointment so I could get a drug that works and doesn’t make me sick, unbearably itchy or incapable of breathing. 

Day largely spent in front of the television – Sunday Brunch and rugby, while I crocheted a sock. It’s just a practise, not going to be wearable, but if it works then I can do it again properly. 

This evening, I’ve been out at The Glee to see David O’Doherty. I planned on using the lift as my breathing is still worse than usual, but then I was told to ask inside the venue and they’d take me to it. Unfortunately, that kind of defeats the purpose because to get to the lift, I’d have to leave again to walk to the back door where the lift is, which makes me breathless anyway. So I climbed the stairs, and was taken to my seat which of course was as far from the door as possible. At this point, I was out of breath to the point where it scares me. I just have to sit and wait for it to get back to normal. 

The show was great, just what was required. Denise from Cats Protection was there with her husband and we were saying that we really needed some relief from the awful world. He definitely was that.

The 31st of January. 

Well, I’ve spoken to the person who books appointments for Andrew’s clinics, and she can’t do anything until she’s spoken to him. I don’t feel ultra-confident that she will do this very quickly but hopefully she’ll surprise me. Still no sign of deflation, and I am measuring it every day. 

I have been vastly unproductive today, apart from a blog post this morning. I was at the chiro this afternoon for the first time since before Christmas, and it was not fun, but very necessary. I know it’s bad when Trine winces upon touching my back, exclaiming about how it feels “solid”. She did lots of kneading and crunching and stretching, and I’m going back in two weeks. Hopefully I will not be in pain when I try to go to sleep tonight like I have been for the past week. 

Afterwards, we had a very quick trip to Sutton so I could get a box file for Cats Protection post-adoption forms, and while there bumped into June from Black Sheep, so had a tiny chat before she had to get back to work. 

Need to decide on my next crochet project. Mindless hooking is my meditation. 

The 1st of February.

I have been surprised! The lady I spoke to yesterday actually rang this morning – she has seen Andrew and he’d like me to go to his clinic tomorrow, which I can definitely do. Still exactly the same size. 

The rest of my day has not been so great. I needed oxygen after getting dressed, have been coughing all day, and my back still feels stiff and painful. Stupid garbage body. It would be nice to be able to complete basic tasks without feeling like I’ve just sprinted 100m. 

I had been considering a new crochet project, and as we are meeting Naomi for lunch tomorrow and it was her birthday the other day, I thought I would make her something. I had seen a pattern for a cute bunny, so I’ve spent my day making that. It is super adorable. 

The 27th of January.

Long days and late nights do not suit me. It took me ages to go to sleep because I was so cold, so I’ve been absolutely exhausted today. 

I got up at half past nine, very reluctantly, and stayed in my pyjamas all morning. I didn’t have the energy to engage with This Morning so I let BBC 2 burble in the background while I wrote about yesterday. That took a long time because I was just feeling useless and wretched, and that is why I have not typed it up yet. 

After lunch, we changed the dressing on my arm (small puncture wound, very little to report) and I put on some warm clothes. My arm has not even started to deflate yet and even my big jumpers are getting a bit snug. I had a bit of a lie down but lacking the capability to nap in the day, it doesn’t really help, so I came back downstairs and have just been a big floop. 

I answered some Cats Protection emails and spoke to Shaki, but I can’t even remember what about now. I might take some Zopiclone tonight and try to have a big sleep. Feel like garbage. 

The 28th of January. 

A sleep has helped. Not back to normal yet but getting there. Another early night will be required. 

Having had Zopiclone, I can barely remember what I’ve done today. I know I wrote up my blog post about London and my venoplasty (update: still no improvement, fairly sure it’s actually getting worse), I went upstairs to unpack my new hairdryer, but other than that, I’m not really sure how I managed to while away the day. 

Definitely no watching of any tv that had to be paid attention to, nor any reading of books. I finished The Man in the High Castle on Wednesday, and I’ve got The Invention of Numbers out to read next but I haven’t started it yet. 

I got in touch with the gym to pause membership again and they’ve done it for five months, although I can resume it at any time. Frankly I’ve got no idea when I’ll be fit for any kind of activity; I can barely walk from room to room without getting distressingly breathless.

New body please. 

The 24th of April. 

Last night at Tiff Stevenson was great fun. I haven’t been to The Old Rep since I was at Hallfield and we went to see George’s Marvellous Medicine. It feels a lot smaller than it did then; row C was really quite close to the stage. I just wish the lady in front of me hadn’t been there as she was drenched in perfume and it kept making me cough. The show was really good – I was surprised to hear her talk so much about Black Lives Matter but she was really well-informed and we all did lots of clapping. After the show, she was in the bar so we had a chat and a selfie in which I looked awful. I need to just smile instead of pulling a face. She’s in the cool gang. 

Today, I’ve been trying not to succumb to the heavy cloud. For some reason, I decided to Google bronchiolitis obliterans (the technical term for what I have) and I found some information saying that once it develops, most patients die of respiratory failure in five years. I already seven years post-diagnosis. What does that mean for me? How long do I have left like this before I get even worse? How I’ve been was okay, I could cope with that. I am really scared that I’m going to lose the tiny amount of independence I have left. What if I become so breathless that I need the wheelchair even more? To the extent that I can’t wash and dress without gasping for breath? I really don’t know if I can deal with that, and suddenly it feels ever so real. 

The 25th of April. 

My shoulders ache this evening. More jabs today. I can understand why babies find it so distressing – it doesn’t just hurt at the time, every time I raise my right arm, I am sore. I am having lots of paracetamol. 

My mood has slightly improved; I do not feel quite so morose. I don’t know how proactive I can be about my breathing, I’ll just have to go to the gym as much as possible, really build up my muscles. I got my appointment for my next set of tests in October. Maybe I can improve things by then. 

For most of the day, I have been crocheting. I am making a Moomin to take to Robyn and Stu’s in May, and so far I have done the nose and the body up to the armpits, so it currently looks like a rather large nappy. We had to go out just after two to go to the GP, and today there was no palaver about what I was to be vaccinated against. Two in the right arm, one in the left again. Two more lots to go; one in a month, and the last one in seven months. 

Before going home, we went into Sutton because I had had a text from Waterstones to inform me of the arrival of my copy of Sara Pascoe’s book, and while there, I also ordered the new Harry Potter book because y’know. We went to Tesco too for some naan bread because we’re having curry tonight and the naans at M&S were unacceptable. 

Ouch. 

The 20th of April. 

Ugh well it has been rather a pants day. My breathing has been bad, Monica is gone, and Victoria Wood has died.

It started in an acceptable enough fashion; I did a blog post while trying to not bend my neck too much in any one direction, watched a wedding on This Morning, and spent a little time with Monica, having a little play and rubbing her belly.

Shaki arrived just before one, and we started filling in the paperwork for Monica’s new home. When Janet, her new owner, arrived, I took the cat carrier in and put the blanket she sleeps on inside with some of her toys and a couple of Dreamies to try to tempt her in. We finished all the forms, then Shaki and I went back to the kitty but she was having none of it and went straight under the bed. Shaki went back out and after a little while, she emerged, but refused to come anywhere near the carrier. Then Mommy came to have a go, she even made a trail of warmed up chicken, but in the end, she just had to pick her up, get her in, and quickly shut the door behind her. She was not happy and started crying, putting her arms through the gaps, then I basically made them leave because I could no longer bear it. 

Shaki stayed for a little bit so we could talk about some issues I am having with PetPlan, and she noticed my crochet. I’m now making a little version of her cat Charlie and some mice for the Cats Protection shop. People love my skills. 

After she’d gone, I went to the gym, and had a fairly crappy session. I had to do most of it in the wrong order, and my breathing was difficult, then the Victoria Wood news broke, and it was all just very poor. I remember listening to a cassette of her 1997 show as a child all the time. If you don’t know her, search out her work. Hero. 

The 21st of April. 

Oh, for fuck’s sake, now Prince?! This year is the worst. It truly is. 

I woke up super early for a very brief phone interview with Paul Ross that my friend Alex who produces him asked me to do last night. I just had to talk about my experience of cancer (loads of death) and what I do now (Anthony Nolan). 

At the QE for lung function tests at half past ten, then Dr. Thompson. They’ve replaced all the machines, so the tests have changed, and they’ve got rid of the one I hate. We certainly got done more quickly than before, then I was back out where I found Mommy having a chat with a chap who had recognised me from haematology clinic. He’s had a lot of the same GvHD as me, and his son and nephew have both had leukaemia as well which is very unusual. He told us about a drug that might be able to alleviate some of my symptoms but I need to talk to haematology about that. Dot, who is the sweetest nurse in the world, called me in, and told me how much she liked my hair before leaving us with Dr. Thompson. He asked how I’d been feeling, and I said I was generally okay, which surprised him because I had the worst results he’d ever seen. Kind of a kick in the face. He’s prescribed me an inhaler I have to do twice a day and we hope that might make a difference. 

Got home, had lunch, then went back out to Sutton. I needed to return an Ivy Park crop top that was too small, pick up some boring bits from Boots, and to see if Waterstones had Sara Pascoe’s book but they didn’t yet. They’ll text me when they do. Then off to Tamworth to Hobbycraft so I could get some safety eyes for the mice but they had none, so I bought some wool instead. We also went to John Lewis to look at some garden furniture, but I ended up buying a blanket which had been reduced from £65 to £19.50, and I now might hide under it until this year is over. 

The 21st of November. 

Oh, last night I was full of rage. I had been complaining on Twitter about how I miss the voice I used to have, how it kills me that I can’t sing the way I used to. I don’t talk about it a lot but performing was a massive part of who I used to be, it was what I was good at, what I was confident about and it was taken away from me. Someone who follows me advised that I try “breathing exercises” and I just about exploded. How someone that follows me can not know I have an incurable lung condition I just don’t know. The anger itself made me breathless. 

Today I went to see Mockingjay pt. 2 with Daddy. A film I didn’t think I’d live to see but here I am. The Hunger Games always makes me want to smash the government and this time was no different. President Snow holds echoes of David Cameron. Obviously, Dave is not quite as blatant about his disregard for the poor and the vulnerable but it’s there. He cares about those he deems important (i.e. his class, the wealthy) and the rest of us are inconsequential. Profit is all that matters and if he can dismantle public services so the private sector can take them over to run them poorly to no account then it doesn’t matter because he can afford decent care if it’s necessary. I wonder if he ever feels guilty about what he’s doing but I think it’s unlikely. Every day I despair about the future because I don’t want to live in the world the Conservatives are creating.

The 22nd of November. 

It has been freezing all day. I only tolerate being cold for Christmas and my birthday, otherwise winter would have no benefits at all. The only times I’ve really been warm today have been when I’ve had Nick on my lap. He isn’t doing the sad mews as much but he isn’t eating a lot and I’m not sure what to do about that. I’m just going on my knowledge that kittens tend to self-regulate and if food is there and he is hungry he’ll eat. 

I spent my morning reading yesterday’s paper, and I did very well on the crossword. I also got some inspiration for Christmas presents from the gift guide. I’m doing pretty well – got a spreadsheet going. 

This afternoon I have crocheted while Mommy and I caught up on two episodes of The Returned. That’s one foreign drama down for the week, now The Bridge has started again so we’ve got that too. We love Saga, she is excellent. 

Mommy had to go and check on the Christmas cake, so I went to see Nick and watch some Pretty Little Liars. It surprises me that it was only filmed in 2010-11 (I’m still on season 1) as the phones seem really old and they dress really badly. Well, in my opinion. They do have nice hair though. And interesting love lives. Just any love life would be nice. 

The 16th of October. 

Definitely going to be a short one. I was woken up by Daddy shouting “MORNING KATHRYN!” as he and Mommy returned from taking the car for its MOT and service. Thrilled about that. 

This morning I wrote up a blog post, and while I was doing that, the postman delivered my wool for Luna’s presents, and since then, I have been going cross-eyed crocheting. I have made one thing, then I started on another pair of mittens for myself using a new pattern. However, in getting going, it was way too complicated and I just got lost. I might try it again one day, but for now, in going to use the wool to make another pair using the pattern I’ve used before, and try to add in some cabling or something. 

I was doing that until about five o’clock, then my eyes were getting tired. I might pick it up again after tea but for now, I’m going to have a wee rest. 

The 17th of October. 

Getting kittens tomorrow! Only two instead of four now. But I shall explain. This morning I read the paper while awaiting a delivery from ASOS of four pairs of jeans, as I currently only have two pairs that fit me somehow. I’m not quite sure how that’s happened. 

They came just after lunch, so I went to try them all on in the back room. I got so out of breath! Just getting in and out of clothes and I needed oxygen, for fuck’s sake. Bloody lung disease. I would have been no use at the gym today. I’m keeping one pair. 

Later, Daddy and I went to see Sicario. We were going to watch Crimson Peak, then I decided it would probably give me nightmares so this seemed safer. It was, although I think I expected slightly more ass-kicking from Emily Blunt. It’s definitely more education than entertainment. 

During the film, I got a text from Lynn, saying she’d bring the kittens some time after six. However, having just taken my first forkful of dinner, my phone rang. Nelly got homed today, and Noah is going tomorrow, so she thought it would be mean to make him spend the night alone. Which is fine, I don’t want to upset any of them. And I think it’s less stressful for us too. So all is good!