Hope this finds you well and ready for some serious downtime and festive merriment. I’m just about ready to go up to Skye for a full-on family Christmas with Mum, Dad and Iain’s family. One more frying session, my 12th of 30, tomorrow morning, then it is 6 hours in the passenger seat up to Skye. My Driver (a.k.a. Dad) can no doubt look forward to some “helpful” driving advice from me, as adjusting to be out of the driving seat it a slow process, as well as back-seat driving being in my genes.
My radiotherapy treatment started back on 9th December and is my new Monday-Friday pastime, and chemotherapy started on 11th December as a daily addition. I was most disappointed, as even though it was my 38th Birthday, the wrapping of my drugs package (including chemo, anti-emetics, antibiotics and laxatives) was simply a paper pharmacy bag. You would have thought the NHS could make and special effort for a Birthday gift wouldn’t you? I did have a fantastic birthday celebration, with Amanda (a.k.a. Mrs Hensby), Clare (a.k.a. Chappers), Mum and Dad here. Amanda and Clare turned up and continued to wear bald caps all weekend, even when we went out to the pub, so that I “wouldn’t stand out”. In fact, they stood out and I looked relatively normal with my 10 days of hair growth. Whilst partaking in a few medicinal Guinness (to boost my Hb levels), we were impressed by the attention we got from shaven local males, possibly an idea to remember ladies, if you are having attraction difficulties. Such fantastic nutter friends, who certainly are helping me enjoy the funny side of life. It’s been fantastic to have some old University rugby friends Stan and Wes (both a.k.a. Kate) to stay, and also to see more of Sue, Paul and Sian as they are local to me now, and to have Joanna (a.k.a. Mrs ‘Shed) here, with an extra night in Glasgow due to Luton Airports inadequacies in 3” of snow and Ingrid (a.k.a. sister-in-law) for a weekend of girliness. It’s lovely to be able to more spend time with those dear to me, and I would advocate that you don’t wait for your own Tuna to do the same with your nearest and dearest.
Next week I get Monday off radiotherapy, possibly due to good behaviour, or maybe as a Christmas gift from the NHS, but more likely to be due to it being a Public Holiday. So I have a 4 day week of radiotherapy, then back to Skye for more festivities and then another 4-day week after Hogmanay: lucky me. I’m getting used to the changed daily routine, instead of it being up at 6.30am, commute, gym workout before work, shower and at my desk by 9am… now, I wake, take my anti-emetics, wait for half an hour before being able to take my chemotherapy, then wait half an hour before I can eat breakfast, then a 5 minute walk to the Beatson for a frying session in the Radiotherapy Department. They really like dressing me up in my Gimp mask and strapping me in good and tight on the table, wellies still on. The mask, for those who want to try at home, feels a bit like trying to shove your face through a slightly-too-small collider, but mine has a little mouth hole cut in it. After 10 minutes or so worth of radiation-related buzzing, whirring and sirens, then I am de-gimped and set free. That’s it… no busy schedule of meetings, no teleconferences and no video conferences. I then have the rest of the day to do what I’d usually be squeezing into my evenings and weekends, oh yes, and chilling and focusing on getting better and through some waves of mild nausea and headaches. With my clinical trials background, I have assessed both nausea and headaches as CTC grade I, for my imaginary CRF. My treatment side effects haven’t been anywhere near as debilitating as the symptoms of “depression” I had. Alas, the anti-depressants which I stopped following the Tuna diagnosis, and now my oral chemotherapy isn’t anywhere near as nice as chocolate or cake, but I am still taking the chemo every day, and think I am worthy of a Gold Star for my compliance. I know the chemo is doing something though, as my platelets took a bit of a tumble last week, and my neutrophils this week.
I’ve not noticed any hair loss yet, other than the planned shaven loss, which I notice a lot. Whomever of you it is who organised this extended arctic spell of double-digit sub-zero temperatures for me and my fellow baldies, I take it was to test our understanding of the insulation properties of hair and our individual toughness. Please can I say that the joke was good, very good: I now totally appreciate hair, and have a greater appreciation of hats and scarves, and can confirm that the shaven head possie are a very tough bunch, in fact, some are even repeat shavers now, having taken a like to the polished sensation. Now though, please can you arrange for it to warm up a bit? It has been stunningly beautiful with frost on snow on ice on snow on frost on snow… and with a full moon and lunar eclipse this week. But that all comes at a cost as I’ve had two lots of frozen pipes in the rented flat here in Glasgow. All sorted now thanks to my Driver, who now has an additional job title of Handyman. The guestroom remains unaffected and the hot water works again, so I smell sweet again and guest reservations (via firstname.lastname@example.org) are most welcome at Hotel Vicky.
I’ve been in awe of my friends and family, colleagues and neighbours, and their friends and colleagues, both near and far, who have joined in and shown considerable creativity and bravery as part of the VixBigShave fundraising silliness by shaving, waxing, baking bald gingerbread biscuits and coffee morning, and wine mulling. Thank you all so much for joining in the fun, perpetuating the ripple effect and for the support for my chosen healthcare charities in NW Scotland (http://www.justgiving.com/Vicky-Galbraith ).
I continue to be amused and delighted by an excellent flow of jokes and silliness… I am somewhat concerned about workplace productivity (but not really that worried). Please keep them coming… here’s the cream of the seasonal crop for your viewing pleasure with full sound on:
Have an utterly fantastic Christmas, may the turkey not be too dry, and you get a bit of breast. No family arguments please – life really is too short, just take the tea towel and get on with the drying up, or surrender the remote control…
Live, love and laugh,
Big kisses and bone-crunching hugs