T + 473 Happy New Year

Happy New Year indeed to you all. 2010 well I never.

No change on the medical front in the last couple of days though the bouts of nausea and tiredness that I mentioned last time have not been as bad. Maybe my ciclosporin levels have adjusted back down. Now for related but non-medical items.


As you will see if you read this via the web page and not an RSS feed, I have taken down the Xmas decorations and gone back to my usual layout. Maybe I will look for another template style but I do rather like this one and it is nice a clear for reading on things like the iPhone so any replacement will have to be just as good.

Looking Back

I was looking back over some of my posts from this time last year and into early 2009 and there are a couple of telling sentences in there. They both relate to being on steroids and how this will delay my immune system recovery and hence returning to a normal life. You can use the archive list at the side of the blog if you want to read them for yourself.

In one I talk about delaying things by a couple of weeks and the other suggests it'll be March or April before I am back in full circulation. Well I really didn't expect to still be on steroids and ciclosporin a year later and whilst it is true I didn't say which March or April I meant I wasn't thinking 2010 at the time either.

That said, maybe March or April this year will be a reasonable goal to be off the anti-rejection drugs and have my immune system returning to normal. I'm on my lowest level of steroids and tolerating it well ( albeit with help for my adrenals from two other steroids ) but even so I'm not counting my chickens this time. There have been too many false dawns in the past year so I'll just play it by ear. Though if I am writing a similar blog entry to this next year and still on ciclosporin and/or steroids then I will be very disappointed.

Overall on the medical front it has been pretty good, a couple of minor infections and only one short hospitalisation. About 40 days off sick in the year which seems a lot, but better than the close to 120 I took in the previous nine months March - December 2008.

Looking back at other things that happened in the year it was May that I persuaded my consultant to relax things a bit on my purdah and I started back in the office two days a week which has been very nice to have the extra human contact during the day. If the office wasn't so far away and only accessible by car I would probably try and do a bit more but as I struggle to get going in the morning especially until the steroids have kicked in I can only manage a couple of 6 a.m. starts a week at the moment.

I was also able to have the occasional trip to the cinema and restaurant. For the most part I have chosen the excellent Electric Cinema in Birmingham which is either fairly quiet or where I can have a sofa seat with Gareth and keep the unwashed masses at bay. The alternative has been Gold Class tickets at Star City where you get big electrically adjustable armchairs that are well spaced out.

I've been to a couple of concerts as well though sadly couldn't go to some because they were standing only and I didn't want to risk things bumping into sweaty Herberts in the "mosh pit".

One of the other highlights has been getting the garden into shape to grow my own vegetables. This started as a little pipe dream when I was staying at Mom and Dad's after recovering from a bout of chemo and whilst lying bed I got to thinking how nice it would be to go out to the garden and pull some spuds and few other veg to bring in for tea. Well we are all set for this growing season, just need to weed the beds and work in some compost.

Late in the year the completion of my novel, Reunion as part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) competition meant a lot to me and showed me what I can accomplish with a bit of grit and determination and more importantly regular application of myself to a specific task.

Looking Forward

On the medical front it is really the same goal as it was for last year, namely get my immune system back to normal. From that flows everything else really and I should be left on just one antibiotic twice a day to help my spleen which will probably remain under-active as far as its role in my immune system is concerned. (Otherwise known as the reticuloendothelial system for the medically minded. Don't you just love these complicated terms?)

My little milestone for this is getting back to going swimming again which, despite the chlorinated pools, is something you can really only safely do with a fully functioning immune system.

The garden as I mentioned at the end of the "looking back" section will be a major focus for outdoor activity in 2010 and I look forward to starting seedlings on the window cill and transferring them out to the beds. If I can provide some of the veg for this year's Christmas dinner then that would be an achievement even it is a single sprout or parsnip.

I want to build on my NaNoWriMo experience and find forty-five minutes most days and a bit longer at weekends to do something "improving" as the Victorians would probably call it. Initially this will be editing the novel I wrote for NaNoWrimo and giving it a second draft. As I've mentioned previously this will just be correcting typos and removing major inconsistencies. What I do with it then will depend how I feel about it once I have appraised it in the cold light of day and not the white heat of the competition in November.

Aside from that I'd like to spend some time having a concentrated month or two on other projects but I'm not sure what they will be. I'd like to get back into learning Russian again, though on my own at the moment though maybe I can go back to a class by September.

I also want to get back to a regular reading habit of at least half an hour a day. I love reading and find it an immense source of comfort and mental nourishment but, not unreasonably, during NaNoWriMo I got out of the habit and I find it is something I have to make a bit of effort to get into as the lure of television is all too great.

The foregoing are as close as I am going to get to New Year's resolutions but let us consider them more as hopes and aspirations than goals and targets. After all we never know what is round the corner do we? And a good job too I reckon.


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