More excellent news…

There has been some more excellent news this week too.

I had an appointment with the Consultant Oncologist who was in charge of my radiotherapy treatment last autumn. This was a routine follow-up appointment just to check on progress etc, but he is also part of a clinical team with my Haematologist, so has the fuller picture of what’s been happening over the last 6 or 7 months.

He gave me the usual prod and poke around the lymph sites in my neck, armpits and groin and I am pleased to say that he couldn’t find any swollen nodes at all. This means that the treatment is working. Which is, as I say, excellent news 🙂

“I never want to see you again”, he said, in the nicest possible way. To be honest, I never want to see him, either, but I am glad I met him.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to feel the nodes in the abdomen area, so I may need to have a further CT scan after next week’s treatment to check on what’s been going on there. Furthermore, this doesn’t mean that I am cured.

What it does mean though is that, subject to attending for the maintenance treatment over the next two years, I can look forward to maybe 7 years before I need to have something similar.

I am quite pleased. Not that I ever doubted that this would work, of course.

Now, I’m going to have to think of something else to write about – I’ve enjoyed doing this blog over the last year or so – it’s good to write things down and very interesting (to me at least) to go back and read posts from a while ago. As I have said before, it seems a lot longer than it really has been – so much has happened really and it’s easy to forget what you’ve been through.

Oh, and England were woeful in the World Cup. Why am I not surprised?

Some excellent news!

A press release from Leica Camera was issued today:

Fundraising on Twitter for Leica enthusiasts’ charity initiative

Starting on June 30, 2010, Leica Camera AG will donate .50 Euro to the UK based Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) for every new follower to Leica’s Twitter account. Leica will donate an extra 1,000 Euros to AICR upon reaching 10,000 followers by July 9,2010.

The charity project for the benefit of international cancer research is part of an initiative that was launched by Leica enthusiast photographers who met on the independent International Leica User Forum site . Cornerstone of the project is the Leica User Forum Charity Book 2010, which is available through the online publishing company Blurb. The book is 140 pages long and offers a broad variety of images made by 101 Leica Forum members. A significant donation from the participating photographers as well as 6 Euros of the 95 Euros sales price will benefit the AICR. More than 9,000 Euros have already been raised.

Leica Forum member Bill Palmer, who came up with the photo book idea, said: “We simply wanted to showcase the talent of the photographers on the forum, whilst simultaneously raising money for a good cause. The response was overwhelming, both in the number and quality of images submitted from contributors worldwide.”

Norman Barrett, AICR’s Chief Executive said: “This impressive work of photo aficionados will provide essential income to help us help scientists across the globe in their efforts to understand and answer some of the most complicated questions in their field.”

Leica Camera Chief Executive Rudolf Spiller also commented: “I am delighted that we can contribute to an initiative that perfectly illustrates the spirit of the Leica user community. The project combines social responsibility, creative excellence and dedication to Leica cameras and lenses. Our customers are the best!”

Back from Normandy

We were _supposed_ to be going to Oxford last weekend for a couple of days. We’d booked into the Malmaison on a very good deal for Sunday and Monday night and had intended to leave the dog with my folks in Maidenhead. Well, the second part of that plan worked out.

A week before we left we were talking about what to do for my 50th Birthday next year and got down to two choices. 1. New York for a few days or, 2. A drive round Europe to take in the Italian Lakes and the Millau Bridge (see blog post from last year about “Bucket List”). On one Thursday evening, Ann suggested that we could go to Millau _that_ weekend, i.e. in the morning. (It’s only 900 miles from where we live…)

But, that got me thinking on the way to work the next morning, and so the Mal was duly cancelled and the ferry and a hotel/b&b in Normandy booked. We had been let down by Expedia, as it turned out. The place I had booked on the Friday lunchtime had become full by the time I got home, but they were very good, and found us a fabulous b&b at Chateau Flottemanville nearby. €80 per room, including breakfast – and it was superb. Here’s a photo of the front on the Chateau, which has been in the family, thick and thin, for around 700 years. Our room was in an annexe over to the left, but a very short walk into the main house for breakfast. Very quiet, very comfortable, very reasonable. Will definitely go back next time we want to visit Normandy.

We’d never been here properly before. I visited with friends from school while on a tour of France about 30 years ago, but we didn’t do the beaches (only Bayeaux, which is about 10 miles from the coast – stupid boys!), and this time we went with the intention of seeing all the D-Day beaches.

These are really moving. Omaha Beach, with the huge American Cemetery on the cliff above, and especially Pegasus Bridge, where the British Paratroopers first landed.

Highly recommended to anyone who hasn’t been.

On the Monday, we toured the north and west coasts of the Cherbourg peninsular, which is both very beautiful and interesting, even the nuclear reprocessing plant which seems to be about 2x the size of Sellafield. We did find (following a tip in one of the guides) a fabulous small restaurant called  Le Moulin a Vent right on the north coast, about half an hour west of Cherbourg, where the €23 set menu was fantastic. Excellent value for money, even with the poor £/€ exchange rate.

Got back home on Tuesday night, ready for another session in the chair on Wednesday.

There is now a large light at the end of the tunnel, with the final session (before maintenance) coming up in 2 week’s time now. It’s actually going to be quite odd not having this series of events to “look forward to”, and having my life back as my own again. On the other hand, subject to the sleep deprivation and other chemically induced issues, it will also be strange going back to work “full time”. I know what I’d rather be doing though…

Started looking round for a new car today. BMW and Mercedes were interested in selling me a car. Audi weren’t even bothered whether they spoke with me or not. Thos first impressions make all the difference. guys… Mine has now done 76,500 miles, in the two years I have had it. It will be interesting to see what MB come up with.

The Leica Book has now sold around 130 copies and there should be some very exciting news to report about next time (which will not be as far away as this time was 😉 )

So, things are looking up for the Summer.