It’s that end of December post again

I have just read through end of December posts from the last four years to see what humour I was in at the same time of the year. I have to confess that I don’t like New Year. I don’t like this period immediately after Christmas where the whole month, no the whole year, just seems to fall flat on its face. However, my posts have been pretty upbeat for the most part, I’d say, apart from in 2010 when Pippa had just died.

In 2009, I’d only just started out with this and was looking forward, as much as one can, to the thought of chemo in the New Year. In 2011, I was working through the maintenance and looking forward to starting in site with my Blackpool projects in 2012 and last year I was looking back on an eventful 12 months and forward to delivering the same projects.

So, how has 2013 been? It’s been a remarkable year, with events happening that I could never have predicted and which have changed my life. It’s one of those years where you can look back and say “Well, twelve months ago I never thought that would have happened!”

From a health point of view, obviously having the news that the disease is still in remission was the best I could have had and, to be honest, was unexpected. I have always tried to have my glass half full with this, but it can be difficult sometimes, so it’s good to know that the treatments have been working. However, I did get a copy of a letter that the consultant sent to me GP after the last consultation, which, while confirming the above, does refer to the scan “demonstrating fine nodularity within the retro peritoneum consistent with small sub-centimetre nodes measuring up to 0.6cm. ” Previously of course, I had been told that there is no clinical evidence of the recurrence of the lymphoma, but he did explain that the CT scan only resolves down to a certain level. It sounds like 0.6cm is about that level. How this differs from “clinical evidence” is something to ask next time, but the letter confirms that no residual disease can be identified upon examination. This has changed my outlook on the situation I find myself in no end.

From a work aspect, the multi-storey car park was eventually handed back to the Council after delays by the contractor. I need to thank everyone involved in the delivery of the car park for all their hard work, but especially our Contract Administrator, who has been very supportive throughout the year. Now, if we can just keep some of the cladding panels on the building in very high winds, I will be even happier!

The roads and services finished in the summer and have made a big difference to the traffic flows in this part of town as well as looking terrific. Again, a great team working very well together delivered the goods.

The Council Office will be finished in the first couple of months of 2014 and it will be great to have the Council moving into their new home in the spring.

And we have had a few trips this year too. Venice in March was as beautiful as always and it was great to be back on Islay again in the summer. Southern Germany was a real eye-opener and definitely a place to return to with more time to explore.

And what will 2014 deliver, apart from the completed office? I must get back to taking photographs again. I just haven’t got the motivation back that I lost before Germany and something needs to be done, especially before we go to Sorrento in 8 weeks time.
More of the same luck and good fortune that I have enjoyed in 2013, I hope of course. And more of the support of family, friends and colleagues that I have been so grateful for this past year.

As I said here in September, I just hope that I am repaying this love and support properly.

I wish everyone who reads this, a Very Happy New Year.

Another 3 month visit comes and goes

Met with my consultant yesterday morning and had a very good chat about what the future might hold. Given that his name isn’t Madame Petrulengo, neither of us knew, but it was good to have a chat, regardless. What he did say was that he was very pleased with me. I’m not sure what I’ve done, but I’ll take that any day of the week. What he really means is that I am in as good a position with this as it is possible to be.

This was the first time I’d seen him since our phone call a couple of months ago, after the CT scan, and it was very useful to discuss the results face to face. As before, he said that he wasn’t a great fan of doing lots of CT scans, but I might be an exception. When my disease was first diagnosed, the bulk of it was in the abdomen, around the aorta, and behind several vital organs. It was large, bulky mass. But pretty well undetectable by any clinician. You can’t feel it behind the liver, stomach and all the other stuff.

Now, at present, the scans have shown that the disease is not detectable. But, if and when it does return, which is likely at some point, it will probably develop in the same space. What we don’t want is for it to get to the stage where it’s large and bulky and spreading to other areas again, the way it did the first time. Therefore, we agreed that a yearly CT scan would be a reasonable thing to do. The risks associated with the radiation has to be balanced with the benefit of being able to “see” the disease that cannot be felt manually. If the disease had been mainly in my neck, or groin, then this wouldn’t be recommended, but I’m happy to do this, given my circumstances.

I asked him when I could “look forward” to another bone marrow biopsy – probably the most uncomfortable treatment I have had to experience as part of this whole episode. There will be a blog post about it from the summer of 2009 if you’re interested. I was pleased to hear that this wouldn’t be necessary unless my blood tests showed that I was lacking in white blood cells and so far my bloods have all been fine.

Finally, after chatting about the Wirral, he asked to see me in four months time. This is also some progress from the three months I have been doing so far.

So, I can look forward to 2014 and all that holds, pretty confident that another round of biohazard in a vein isn’t part of the plan. 2013 has been a very good year in many ways. If 2014 continues in the same fashion, I will be a fortunate man indeed.

Oh, yes… If you were wondering how my Blackpool projects are getting on (I know you were), here are a couple of photos. Looking pretty good, I reckon.