Letter from the North

Confused Poo, back to work and assignment challenges 05-Jan-2019

The new bed, not as exciting as a pussy cat, but, …

Sat 05-Jan-2019

The decorations are off the tree, but since 12th night is not till midnight (please don’t correct me, all I know is that after midnight, Christmas is gone) Teresa has left the tree lights on till she goes to bed (before midnight), when she will turn them off for the last time, everywhere else is stripped bare. 

Spent all day sorting out migrating Outlook from Teresa’s old to new computer – eventually done but a nightmare and took out any chance of assignment 🙁  

Sun 06-Jan-2019 

Normal poo again, this is downright bizarre! 

Yesterday evening the lights were on, today I took the lights off the tree – why me, because that way they will not be tangled when they go up next year. Mrs “push and shove it” has a less managed approach to packing away the lights BUT she then asks me to untangle them next year. I put a stop to that last year and this year, no tangles, “so there” 🙂 

Then tree is out of its barrel, unclamped from its stand and free of its granite blocks (anti cat push over tree devices)  and out by the bin for the council to do it’s recycling thing

At the same time Ikea delivered my new “day bed” to replace the sofa I sleep on, we have accepted that’s how it’s going to be so I need something somewhat more comfortable (and longer). Tried it at Ikea in Exeter when we went there and it seems to be the best (and most robust) option. 

Delivery went like clockwork, though their Satnav took them to the North Inn as it always does 🙂 

Wiped me out and I’m now in take it easy mode. Finished my Christmas cake 

Had a Benecol (yoghurt drink thing with anti-cholesterol characteristics) with lunch, first time in ages, see if my friend diarrhoea returns 

Nap as usual, then more work on assignment, tea and more sorting out Teresa’s computer – this time Email addresses. 

All done, some more normal poo and then crashed out. 

Mon 07-Jan-2019 

Awake early, worrying about the assignment, I am going to have to request an extension, I don’t like it but I cannot complete it this week since I am back to work. It is also such intense work that I can only really do a few hours (three MAX) before it wipes me out 🙁  

So, here in my office, back at work at 6:05am! 

A good day’s work, managed my 7.5 hours and then some work done on the assignment. I did end up asking for a two-week extension to the assignment, hated doing so and need to make sure I deliver the goods, but 3 weeks is better than one week before submission! 

Poo, ah there’s a story, no action almost all day. Had Benecol drink at lunchtime, nothing, had Teresa’s turkey pie for tea, much the same as her turkey stew (form which the turkey came 🙂 ) plus mushrooms. 

Now, was it cumulative Benecol? Was it the mushrooms (something we have suspected for some time) or was it the broad beans that I had, “confident” that since things were so blocked up, a bit of veg could do no harm? 

I don’t know, all I know is that just before bed I “tried” and managed something close to normal, so far, same old same old as of late.  

Downstairs for 10 mins and nope, urgent messages and full-blown diarrhoea. Back downstairs, laid in bed and yup you get it, another missive, … 

Early hours of the morning another message and … 

Tue 08-Jan-2019 

Things are quiet now, some cramping but nothing happening because I suspect there’s nothing left? 

At work in Penryn 

Afternoon nap and then working on the assignment – hard work, but getting there. 

No poo whatsoever yet, is that because my system was scoured out yesterday or is it back to its default behaviour. I know I feel uncomfortable but is that just general abdominal discomfort courtesy of paz (muscle and joint pain) or is it digestive discomfort due to constipation as opposed to that from diarrhoea? Drives me nuts (and stresses me, trying to work out what is going on) 

If I stay “bunged” I will try adding veg to tomorrow’s tea and see what happens! 

Well just before bed, normal poo, but despite a lot of “gurgling”, no explosions, starting to really suspect those broad beans. But had no Benecol yesterday so must have that today but no veg. I could be anally (ha!) scientific about this, but despite all appearances to the contrary I’m not and try not to obsess on what I can and can’t eat and do the one change at a time, as much as anything as I suspect it’s a complicated (more than one factor) problem 

Wed 09-Jan-2019 

Slept ok, for me, but awake at 5:15am and her at work by 5:45am – saving that 1hr drive (each way) plus another 1/2hr of getting shaved, dressed, sorting lunch, …, easily gives me an extra 2.5hrs a day of work, with my fatigue that is a blessing! 

Ah, all change, no poo, no poo, normal poo, severe diarrhoea, well that’s my morning “sorted”, no idea what’s going on now! 

Thu 10-Jan-2019 

Not a lot to say, poo is normal which “should” be a good thing, but I worry. Despite having the same curry (frozen) that seemed to trigger diarrhoea when first made and having Benecol yog drink and yoghurt with tea, nowt going on in the poo department. 

If today stays benign may try some more broad beans this evening and see what happens, it is driving me nuts, are my problems food related or not, well, they seem to be, but there doesn’t seem to be a totally reliable pattern! I know it’s made worse because the anti-nausea drugs tend to cause constipation and fruit and veg are massive triggers, but … 

Fri 11-Jan-2019 

In office 6:45am, later on will move out our old sofa and build the new Ikea day bed and hope it works as well as I thought it was going to. 

Work is going well, assignment is OK, but I am shattered and know I need a break – I just don’t have time for one yet I must have one as my body cannot cope with this beyond today, so a quiet weekend, which ignores all the jobs Teresa has backed up for me 🙁 The idea that fatigue can be impacted by mental effort MORE than physical effort is not one I find it easy to get my head around! 

Well, I got the Ikea bed made (see the pic at the top of the blog) looks like a hospital bed but we already knew that, jury is still out on comfort, but that’s to be expected, it’s different. 

Managed to take out the old sofa – the old route in via sitting room door and over the fence was out of the question for Teresa and I, even with support from son who is visiting on Saturday for a few days. So, I made the decision to cut off the bottom 6” of the old sofa and that was enough to get it out of the sitting room and through the front door. In the end half an hours work but probably another half an hour of stripping off the covers, inspection and analysis of the problem – oh and having the right tools and applying some brute force rather that elegance but done 

I am totally wiped out, especially since I didn’t sleep well at lunchtime on the new bed. 

Poo, well, just before tea I threatened if things weren’t moving for the first time today then since we are having Teresa’s chicken pie for tea, I would add the portion of broad beans that got things moving the last time! 

It heard and absolutely normal poo, so no broad beans. However, the mushrooms (a known but less aggressive antagonist usually) did their stuff and full-blown diarrhoea a couple of times, but settled after that. 

Clearly there is an issue with what I eat and slowly we are teasing out the culprits and what exacerbates what, 


A relatively quiet week, but it’s clear that not much physical effort wipes me out, but also wipes out my brain too (and indeed vice versa), this fatigue is tough, the toughest part of the treatment (for me).

On the plus side I managed a full week of work at my (current, drug induced) best and it’s a couple of months since I was able to do that. Plus I made good progress on my assignment, not great, but enough to feel that given another two weeks, I can hand in something that might scrape a pass and that’s good enough for me 🙂

p.s. WordPress decided that this blog should be entered in it’s new style block editor, which I cursed last week (I think) but so far it is behaving itself, fingers crossed that any subsequent efforts are as painless!

The Bean, Pendeen13Jan-2019 


  • Kate Mole

    Dear Bean,
    Some parts of this post sound encouraging; others more difficult. Maybe you could try one of those ‘elimination diets’? Where you try to isolate which are the foods that upset you? It may be tedious, I know, but it might help you become more, ahem, ‘regular’……

  • Bean

    Hi Kate,

    The problem with ‘elimination diet’ is that we are almost certain that not only is it a combination of factors, but it is also how long have the factors been applied for – one day, a week, …. Add to that the main cancer drug side effects wax and wane and the the other drugs I take side effects (which include both constipation or diarrhoea depending on which ones) also vary and it’s a confusing picture. Add onto that the fact that my diet is already massively restricted and I need to take drugs to control the worst effects of both extremes of the poo cycle and a simple experiment proves impossible to control :-(. That’s why we are monitoring ‘trends’ which works for me because my autistic ‘superpower’ is pattern matching, finding common threads in chaos. And boy, is my poo situation chaos 🙂

    I’m not dismissing your idea, but have already thought about it and realised how difficult it would be.

    Incidentally I used that technique to identify red wine and chocolate as migraine triggers back in my 20’s, removed them and no more migraine, 10 years later I found out that it was actually dehydration and stress! Welcome back cheese and chocolate – go figure!

    Bodies are weird things aren’t they 🙂

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