Letter from the North

Bleeding bottoms, snow, pancakes – 24-Feb-2018


We made it to the Doctors clinic in Truro, despite the conditions, shame the Doctor didn’t!

Bleeding bottoms – Sat 24-Feb-2018

Well, the concert went surprisingly well. Steve Knightly was excellent and I was reasonably alert. Inevitably I had the odd weepy moment, but then music does that to me. Sitting was comfortable, however the stress/tension in my back got worse as the evening progressed (it usually does) so I was glad when we left and I could get away from people, nice as they are.

We sat with two friends from Pensans Morris who I hadn’t seen in a while and also had a chat with the two Lindas from Penzance Folk Club.

I did panic on the diarrhoea front, even though I suspect there wasn’t actually a problem I took an Imodium Instant before the concert, just to be safe. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t panicked.

When we got home, bottom wanted to go, it did, no problems as far as I can recall, I’m sure there was no “pushing” but there might have been, I was so wrecked by then, I don’t really remember.

This morning normal bottom activity, felt proper normal, yippee, loo roll comes back red, back to bleeding again – I never pushed hard so what is going on? Now I am mega worried. As usual, it’s almost certainly the simple answer, delicate blood vessel, poor healing  and healing slowly ‘cos of Pazopanib, but still, …, need to get this stopped.

Blood vessel probably triggered by the “constipated” moment last week, and I did something wrong last night, but even so.

So now, even though I am terrified of diarrhoea, I won’t want to take Imodium. This is MUCH more stress than I need right now, especially if this bloody drug is not even slowing down the tumors!

Nothing from consultant yet, mega disappointing and that stress is not helping either.

Spent all day with Teresa and my daughter at the garage while daughter chose a new car (hers died in its MOT). I wasn’t really relevant as the two of them (despite being “steps”) are getting on quite well at the moment and are more than capable of handling a garage salesman. I popped my head above the parapet for the odd “technical” comment but otherwise kept out of the way. SIX hours after we left home, the decision was made. I contributed about 10 mins to that. The rest of the day I spent sat around in the showroom, waiting. Strange as that sounds, it left me totally exhausted and barely capable of anything. We got home around 4:30pm and I just crawled into bed on the sofa. I didn’t sleep, but I rested and felt a lot better. Strange! Daughter went over to friend’s, Teresa was off to another concert at the Acorn, and I watched my recording of the Old Grey Whistle Test live show. Very nostalgic, especially the early stuff with Bob Harris, I didn’t get on so well with the later presenters.

Red, getting better

So, a second trip to the loo whilst everyone was out and better results, tad of red on the loo roll but nothing on the bowl. So, of course, I sent an update to Teresa, it’s what I do!

Still awake when Teresa got home at 10pm but went to sleep shortly afterwards

No blood this morning – Sun 25-Feb-2018

So, poo trip this morning, a lot of trepidation. Third trip, two yesterday and not only no diarrhoea (loose but ok) but also no blood.

The slow healing from the Pazopanib combined with a weak blood vessel means I must be EVEN more cautious on the “pushing” department and gently, gently all the time.

Too much poo talk

Of course, there’s too much poo talk, we usually don’t talk about it, do we? Yet on these drugs I walk a tightrope between one extreme and the other and because I got “damaged” due to not understanding the constipatory effects of a pain killer five years ago, I am more “delicate” than I would like to be.

So, to use a very folk music sort of line “take this warning by me”, i.e. take heed of your bottom (front or back), don’t be frightened by it, keep a good eye on it and look after it carefully. AND if in doubt have it checked.

Now I know there are some out there who wish I would shut up, but I won’t. In my case (I hope) it’s a management problem, but I watch it carefully, for some people out there it WILL be a cancer problem and life or death.

Mon 26-Feb-2018

I got tired yesterday afternoon and ended up sleeping for an hour or so, probably just the previous two days catching up on me.

Early hours of the morning, bottom calls, time for Imodium as thing have gone too far. Hopefully I can keep it running on “odd one here and there” rather than continuous use of them.

Oh well, daughter and wife off out today, Teresa is on a course, so I’m just head down at work in my office. Odd having a quiet house, especially since the cats just go upstairs and sleep in a pile on our bed all day until either Teresa gets home or they get hungry!

Tue 27-Feb-2018

I was going to leave this blank, but I should say “all clear on the poo front” and “just a normal day in the office”.

Wed 28-Feb-2018

What a day of highs and lows

First, we drove into Truro for an appointment with a Doctor from the insurance company. This is all to do with getting compensation for the accident that started this whole sorry mess. Don’t know why we need to jump through these hoops, the other driver admits fault, the claim is managed by our insurance company (not a cowboy) and the medical evidence is incontrovertible. Worse, there was a six week wait for this appointment.

Well, despite the snow and the mass exodus out of Truro because of the snow, we made it in plenty of time. The doctor, however, didn’t. Mightily pissed off, we returned to Pendeen. The journey back wasn’t too bad as the snow had stopped and a lot of cars had already left the city. It would have taken us 2 hours, about 1hr longer than normal, but not unreasonable.

UNTIL, we reached the St Just road up from Mount Misery (the A30). It was fine to begin with but there’s a steep hill out of Newbridge and a lot of drivers felt the need to drive VERY slowly and as a result, lost traction. It took an hour to do the last 10 mins of our journey. What a nightmare!

Then we were home, I was very dehydrated and my body felt like it wanted “to go” but couldn’t. A good slug of an Apple and Raspberry J20 and things felt like they were moving. Well, they were but nice and ruby red as well (not scarlet as in fresh, not dark as in old) – oh no. Almost looked like the J20 had bypassed the kidneys and gone straight through.

Fingers crossed that is what happened, but mega worrying. If bleeding starts to become “the norm” then I have yet another problem, and one that is VERY worrying.

Exhausted I crashed out and …

Thu 01-Mar-2018

Here I am Thursday morning. I was supposed to have a fracture clinic appointment today but after yesterday’s fiasco, especially the hill to/from Newbridge, discretion seems like a good idea and it’s been re-scheduled to Monday morning. So, just working from home.

No loo visits yet, almost too scared to try and see what colour I have, this is NO fun ????

On the upside, I cracked a work problem that has been causing me grief for 3 or 4 weeks now. Once I worked out the problem the solution took 5 mins. Oh well, onwards and upwards

It’s 8am and the rest of the family are fast asleep as they aren’t going anywhere, it’s only me up at 6am, feeding the cats and taking drugs. The heating is on and the taps in the kitchen showed some reluctance to run (next to an outside wall), so I started to worry they were frozen, but luckily not. Still, I need to keep an eye on them, and there is an outside tap right the other side of the wall which is not insulated, not generally needed down in this part of the world. So, worried about what’s going on there, ditto in our unheated annex and the water pipes in there. You just don’t expect to worry about freezing pipes down here in West Cornwall.

Poo report – well where would we be without one?

Phew, all ok, almost feels too firm but very carefully relaxed bottom muscles and all ok, no blood (or J2O!!!). Phew.

Later in the evening, a second visit and all ok as well, so maybe it really was an aberration, doesn’t stop the worry though. Every time I go to the loo for a poo I worry, it is incredibly stressful and not really helpful, but I daren’t relax (as it were)

Normality – it’s pancake day

Otherwise, all is well, incredibly cold and no way one stirs from the house, but we missed Shrove Tuesday and my daughter has been keen we do pancakes. I have made them every year since before they were born and daughter does like mine. On the day I was just too poorly, but she suggested today might be a good day since none of us were going anywhere. So, we did. Teresa made the batter – I haven’t the strength in my right arm (I always hand whisk) but she used my batter recipe (one egg, 4 oz Self Raising Flour and half a pint of Milk and a pinch of salt) – as many times as you want.

I managed to cook the first couple but then ran out of steam, I managed another couple later on but Teresa carried the burden. I only managed to eat three but I think the girls managed more like six, though they deny it!

It is distressing to think that might be the last pancake day (like last Christmas, last Birthday, last Strictly, …) this blasted cancer really changes your focus even for someone like me whose external symptoms are down to the drugs, not the disease. Once the disease makes itself felt I suspect the focus will grow!

Fri 02-Mar-2018

Just another day at work, poo all Ok, phew, and onwards, snow has cleared a lot, running water down the street during the night so not the freezing that was forecasted. Hopefully the weather will continue to improve across the whole country and “selfishly” that we can get up to the Peter Lanyon exhibition next week as planned.

Phew, really, do you never learn Bean?

So, this morning’s trip, quite firm but no pushing and no blood. Visit after lunch looser, no pressure at all and what do I find, yup Bloody Blood! What the hell is going on. We rang the Oncology nurse who recommended a GP visit (just in case). Teresa managed to get one for 17:10 today. The roads looked okay in the village so we decided to give it a go. Steep hills between here and the doctors’ in St Just but the buses were getting through. Fears coming back from the road out of Newbridge on Wednesday, but, …

Half hour after last trip and bottom was demanding. Basic Diaoreah this time and NO blood, so what the hell is going on here. Oh well seeing the doctor and even though the thought of an exam is no fun, needs must. I did have a boohoo (as Teresa would put it) just because I’m fed up with my body seeming to constantly fail me. It’s so hard fighting all of this and my fight has barely started, it WILL get significantly worse 🙁 

So, we left for St. Just at 4:30pm having dithered and dithered about leaving because the snow had started falling again – albeit lightly. Still, off we went, got as far as Carnyorth (about a mile down the road) and there was more slush on the road than either of us liked the look of and the car slithered a bit. I suspect it was my fear that was the biggest problem, Teresa would have pushed on, especially if we’d not had the stress of Wednesday at Newbridge.

As a result, here I am back home. I will talk to the doctor on Monday – same day as fracture clinic  – and see what he says.

If I feel like giving up now, just how hard is it going to be to keep going as this bloody cancer really starts to bite and it’s not just the side effects of the drugs (nasty as they are)?


I’d love to have a positive end to this week’s blog, but right now I’m really not feeling that positive or gung ho.

I WILL pick myself up, but it’s not easy, it can’t be for anyone who is going through this sort of stuff, it is truly awful and no matter what external smile we put on our faces, it is often not so underneath. I guess it’s arrogant to speak for anyone else, but I can be quite definite, it’s not always happy underneath for me, no matter how “positive” I might seem on the outside.


1 Comment

  • Kate Mole

    Dear Bean,

    Sorry. Sorry to hear all this. It’s hard, I can see – boring, worrying, scary, and not very pleasant. Transport difficulties on top of everything else – no fun at all. I do hope you feel a bit better tomorrow.

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