I complained recently that An Post had not been forwarding my mail to my parents' adress in a prompt manner. I returned home from IMAG to find a pile of mail waiting for me but only a small pile. There was at least two weeks worth of mail missing. Well today I found out where it had gone. My home address. I went home to check out the place, pick up my suit carrier for my trip to Brussels and to pick up some books and DVDs for my upcoming hospital stay. And there on the hall floor was the missing post including a TV licence renewal notice and some late bookings for IMAG. This is simply unacceptable. The sooner competition comes in the better.
The short hospital stay was uneventful. I was transfused with four units of blood to boost my haemoglobin levels and I was sent over to St Vincent's Hospital for an endoscope. The good news is that the scope revealed nothing "sinister" to use the doctor's word. In other words the cancer hasn't spread. However, there does appear to be a problem with a valve at the base of my stomach which is hindering the passage of food into the intestine. This happens in otherwise healthy people as well so it's nothing to worry about. But the only solution they can offer me is to go on a liquid/liquidised diet until I have my operation in two weeks. After that, I'll be on a liquid diet anyway for a few weeks and it is hoped that by then it will have righted itself.
Unfortunatley, they didn't tell me this until after I'd had my tea last night. Well they did, but I was stil groggy from the sedative and it didn't register, so right now, I'm feeling a bit icky.
I went into hospital for my weekly blood test this morning and I told them about my vomiting problems. They suspect an ulcer and want me to have an endoscopy. Also my blood count is low so they're giving me a transfusion. The end-result is I'm heading back to hospital for a short stay. Hopefully out on Thursday.
Since I'm staying with my parents for the duration of my treatments, I decided to have An Post redirect my mail to their address. It saves having to traipse over to Finglas to pick up my post. The redirection service costs €40 and in the beginning was quite good. I got mail a day or so after I would have gotten it at home. However for the last month or so, An Post has taken to holding my mail for a week to ten days, bundling it all up and delivering it in one go. At the moment, for instance, I haven't had any mail in almost two weeks. I have not received a new insurance certificate for my car and who knows what else is stuck in a sorting office somewhere. This is definitely not acceptable. It's high time An Post was privatised and started delivering a proper service (no pun intended).
IMAG 2006 (Irish Mensa Annual Gathering) is over and was a success, even if I say so myself. That's not to say it went without a hitch. It didn't but most people didn't notice, of if they did they didn't mind. Some of the hitches were my fault. Because of my cancer I took my eye off the ball on a few items but fortunately they were relatively minor.
A lot of the success of the weekend was down to the help I received. If you're reading this Ella & Davy, Paul, Fiona, Eamonn & Elaine, Vin and John, Jill and Elizabeth thanks for all your hard work.
Unfortunately, in the run up to IMAG my digestive system decided to take a turn for the worse. For the past few days I have endured upset an upset stomach and bouts of vomiting. I'm due to visit St Luke's Hospital tomorrow for my weekly blood test and I'll speak to a doctor about it then.
I volunteered to organise IMAG last year when I was in better health and I suppose nobody would have criticised me for walking away from it after the cancer diagnosis. But I'm glad I stuck with it. It was a remnant of normality during a time when my life was turned upside down. I was also very fortunate to have the support and assistance of many people who took over certain components of the organisation. Without their help I wouldn't have been able to do it.
I just had a phone call from the specialist cancer nurse at St Vincent's Hospital. I'm scheduled for surgery on May 19th. The date is very tentative however as emergency cases e.g. car accidents and so on get priority.
The good news is that this means I'm free to attend my niece's first holy communion in Belgium the week before. Emma is not just my niece but also my goddaughter. The other piece of good news is that I'll be in ICU, and probably unconscious, during the Heineken Cup Final.
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.