I reported earlier that the hard disk on my desktop machine failed while I was in hospital in January. The bad news is I was remiss in doing proper backups. The good news is I was able to recover a fair amount of data off the drive. However, I'm now having probelms reintegrating the mail messages I've recovered with the current messages on my laptop. The mailbox folder contains in the region of 12,000 messages but Mail is only importing about 200 of them and so far each time I've tried it's imported a different 200. There doesn't appear to be any pattern so it's not a question of just doing the import 60 times. Oh well, I'll find a solution eventually.
Well the brachytherapy is over. Thank the stars. It was not pleasant, I assure you. A nasal gastric tube was inserted into my stomach via my nose (thus the term nasal gastric) without the benefit of any anaesthetic local or otherwise. The worst bit was the insertion and the immediate aftermath which involved me throwing up. And that was quite an achievement as I had been fasting since midnight. After that, a series of x-rays to make sure the tube was in place correctly. It wasn't and had to be adjusted. Then the therapy.
After five hours of waiting around and preparation, the therapy itself lasted all of five minutes, or the duration of I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats. (That's what was on the radio at the time). A radioactive cobalt source was dropped down the tube and my tumour was irradiated from the inside.
This is not without risks. The doctor explained to me that there was a risk that the radiation could burn a hole in my oesophagus, necessitating hospital admission. Fortunately, that does not appear to have happened and I'm at home now.
After five weeks I have been discharged from St Luke's Hospital. The infection has cleared up and I'm feeling great. My weight is down to 111.2kg and I can buy clothes in Mark's and Spencer rather than Mr Big. I'm not at home yet. I'll be sojourning with my parents until surgery and probably after that for a little while. The advantage is that they are very close to both St Vincent's and St Luke's so if there are any incidents I can be there in a few minutes. Of course it means I'm not all that keen on being far out of Dublin so my travel will be limited.
The second batch of chemotherapy was not as easy as the first batch. The drugs were identical but of course back then I had only just started radiotherapy. By the time the second batch started I'd had four weeks of treatment and my body reacted very differently. Despite the drugs I did feel nauseated and there were some side effects.
Anyway, what's next? I've been scheduled for a treatment called Brachytheraphy next Monday. This involves inserting a nasal-gastric tube and dropping a radioactive pellet down it to irradiate the tumour from the inside. The radiotherapy I had irradiated from the outside. After that I'll have a further CAT scan and maybe a PET scan which will allow the surgeon to see what progress I've made.
Apparently, I'm looking at a mid-May timeframe for surgery. I hope they schedule me for the second half of May as my niece, and god daughter, is making her first holy communion in Brussels in mid-May and I'd like to be there even if it does involve being out of the country. I definitely want my parents to go but they'd probably want to stay in Dublin if I'm in hospital.
Sorry for the lack of updates but I've been stuck in hospital for the past few weeks. The good news is they put in a stent and my swallow has improved enormously. To all intents and purposes I'm now eating normally. There are some foods I have to avoid and I have to be careful when I eat but I'm now eating full meals. In fact, I've even put on some weight after losing in the region of two stone in the space of two months.
Because of the lack of fluid intake I was on the verge of kideny failure and was hooked up to a drip for most of the time. Then just as it looked as if I'd get out last weekend, I developed a temperature and was put on antibiotics. They weren't going to let me out this weekend either but they compromised and said I could go out for a few hours between antibiotic doses i.e. I could go out after lunch but be back by teatime. Then, the results of my blood cultures came back and they reduced my dosage to once a day. I still have to be back this evening but there's no curfew as such.
I feel great and I have my strength back. The second batch of chemotherapy starts on Monday.
The bad news is there seems to be a problem with IOL. The POP server doesn't seem to be responding and I'm getting reports that messages being sent to me are bouncing.