The Home Straight

Dear Friends,

Today is Cycle 6 Day 5. That means it’s my final day of taking chemotherapy, my final Final. I am graduating from Chemotherapy School at the end of August, after six whole dedicated months. Now the final chemo is taken, I just need to let it do its merry chemo-thing, and then recover.  This time last year, finishing chemotherapy is one of those things I never imagined I’d be thinking about, and I never ever, ever thought I’d be getting excited about it. It’s the start of a New Age, the Post-Chemo Age. What does life hold in store for me next?! I’m hoping that Peter Platelet sorts things out and becomes a bit more sociable. My platelets have been a bit pathetic at finding and making new friends, unlike Phil-the-Neutorophil and Eric-the-Erythrocyte, who got it sorted and been very sociable after the firm talking to they got early from me in the Chemo course.

I suppose it’s to be expected, but as the security of “being on treatment” is removed, I feel a bit anxious, a bit nervous of what will happen when my body has finally cleared itself of the chemo, and my immune system and the power of positive thought are left to keep Tuna at bay. So, it’s very exciting to be free of chemo-cycling, but it’s a bit like going from Primary School to Secondary School, you’ve heard a lot about it, been looking forward to it, the increased independence and freedom, the next step in the progression, but you aren’t quite sure what to expect when you get there. I think I will just need to get on the bus and see what it’s like, and take it day by day. I am surmising that there will be good days and bad days, and am hoping that the good continue to out-weigh the bad. I hope this metallic taste I have learnt to live with fades, as I sometimes feel Vicky Pollard-esque with gum chewing to try and mask the metal.

The Chemo Tournament has been a real success, with very little foul play, excellent levels of sportsmanship from both Vix and Chemo, with only the single offside (vomiting) offence months back. I can proudly say that I have steroid-free weight gain on chemo, which might not be the normal outcome for a six month course of chemo, whose side effects include vomiting.  I think I have been taking my own advice of live, love, laugh and do lunches, a bit too seriously, and perhaps I need to begin to exert a modicum of self control again in conjunction with a bit more exercise. The Doc told me that I am allowed to take gentle exercise again, which is fantastic news as I so miss the endorphins of exercise. To kick things off, I’m doing the Dingle Half Marathon (VixBigHalf) with Lindy, Lisa and Andy in a couple of weeks, in a very gentle way. I am expecting a Personal Worst for my time. I’m thinking of that is a positive way, as it’ll be a half marathon with an atypical training schedule. Although I’m on the home straight of the Chemotherapy Tournament, there’s no sprint finish planned.  Here’s Lindy’s fundraising page if you’d like to read about her and support the two American charities we chose: http://events.abc2.org/site/TR?px=1027926&pg=personal&fr_id=1110&et=Tw3K_-XGNDrjz-D5ePogMQ..&s_tafId=2421

Lindy and Lisa and the bigger possie of friendly participants involved in the endless six hour summer run, have pretty much melted their way through. Utterly amazing and a good way to shed a few pounds! There’s some lovely press coverage that they have had, so do take a look at the new “press” tab on the blog or click here: http://greaterannapolis.patch.com/articles/endless-heat-for-endless-summer-run

On that note, a little reminder here, have you signed up for VixTryAgain 2012. If you need more inspiration, do see my fellow rugby teammate Tina’s article in Tri magazine posted on the blog.

So, the score for the Chemotherapy Tournament as we reach the closing stages, is 140-25 to Vix, with 165 days of play so far, and just 23 days to go.  I delayed the start of Cycle 6 as I went to Cambridge Folk Festival, my theory being that

guinni, beer, cider, camping, Festival loos and chemotherapy might not be the best mix. I was right, the Festival was much more enjoyable with me feeling confident in my ability to keep down few pints in the sunshine, and survive Festival hygiene. My good contacts and even better fortune resulted in myself and 4 friends being Guest Listed, by the Peatbog Faeries, the headline act, all the way from the Isle of Skye. Have a listen if you’ve not heard them before, a wonderful fusion of funky, folky pipes, whistle, fiddle and brass, which gets described as “contemporary folk” http://www.peatbogfaeries.com. Massive thanks to Peter and his band of Faeries for their kindness: being Festival Guest

Listed is the way forward, with nice loos, chairs right up at the front of the main stage and an uncrowded bar, who could ask for more?!  Our possie had a wonderful weekend with glorious weather, with a perfect balance of silliness, toe-tapping, clapping, strumming and humming. We even found the solution to my bald patch, and I have some dreadlocks of my own now, and I feel moved to get my sax out its case again, and get practicing on the ukulele…. so much to do!

Life back home is fantastic! Friends and neighbours being wonderfully kind and supportive as I adjust to rural village life again, without a car, and my one-sided car sharing, or “lift-bludging” as it’s also called. The allotment is looking good thanks to Vince’s tireless planting and tending in my absence, and my garden, how lovely it is to sit out in the garden on a summers eve. I am getting used to being back in work too, and hopefully causing less of a distraction to others when I am in the office. I now have a much better appreciation of the social aspects of my workplace reintegration after my extended period of absence.

My plans for me involve gently re-homing, nesting, returning to work and enjoying my annual leave that I accrued whilst off being unwell: plans for my trip of New Zealand and Australia are coming along nicely, so do let me know if you are going down under, and if not, look out for me on the tele when the World Cup is on. 

The best bit of news I’ve had for ages, is that I am being held responsible, blamed for, a baby. Before you ask, it’s not mine, that would be (a) miraculous, (b) careless, and (c) silly given my current circumstances. It’s not my eggs, and even though I might have been called “Sir” a good few times, I am sure that I don’t produce any sperm at all. My genes are not involved anywhere. I promise I wasn’t there, I wasn’t involved in the physical act that resulted in the new life, I wasn’t a voyeur, or spectator. In fact, I was hundreds of miles away. I’m delighted that I had something to do with it though, and hope that the wee’un grows big and strong and has fun as it stretches Mum’s tummy. 

For your leisure time…some on-line silliness:

King Burger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZkdcYlOn5M&feature=youtube_gdata

One for the kids (and rugby players): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQge_Yn-SLM

I love the colour changes.

To finish, some wise words from Uta Hagen: “Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.”

Take care of you and yours, and do let me know your news.

Live, Love and Laugh

Big kisses and bone-crunching hugs
Vix xxx

P.S. I forgot to let you know before. I wrote to Will and Kate inviting them to participate in the VixBigWalk, and I have received a reply from Buckingham Palace, posted on the website for your enjoyment

P.P.S. For those of you who receive my updates by email direct from me, or cascaded on from others, I would like to encourage you to sign-up on the blog, to receive updates directly from the website. You get them just as quickly, and it’s apparently better practice, from the perspective of virus transmission and techie stuff. So, the metaphorical carrot is that it’s safer for you and your computer, and the metaphorical stick is that I will stop doing mass –emails to protect you. So this is the start of my Change Management exercise with you. Please have a look at the blog and sign up there if you can, if you have any questions or problems, do let me know. I promise your details won’t be passed on to others. Good luck!

https://vixbigstuff.wordpress.com/

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