T+915 No news is good news

On Wednesday of this week I went to the transplant clinic for my usual check up. My last one was two months ago. I saw the consultant who dealt with me through most of my transplant and whom I hadn't seen for a while so it was nice to catch up with him. Everything is going fine and my blood results were all in the normal levels. I've been having a few grumbling patches of bad skin on my face, in the creases of my elbows and the backs of my knees. I've tried treating them with the steroid creams I have and it does get rid of them for a while but then they come back. However they don't get really bad and they are not very itchy at all so more recently I've been just leaving them to their own devices in the hope my donor's cells get bored and leave my skin alone. That said the consultant said low level GVHD was no bad thing as it means it's quite possible that I also have GVL (Graft Versus Lymphoma) meaning the donor cells are also going around killing

T + 877 Gee-Pee Bee-Pee

When I went to the transplant clinic a few weeks ago I asked the consultant about coming off the amlodipine blood pressure tablets as I had only been put on them because the ciclosporin caused my BP to rise. I've been off ciclosporin since before Christmas so the consultant said to co-ordinate with my GP to come off the BP tablets. This I have duly done and after a couple of BP checks at the surgery, plus my own daily checks at home for as while, it looks like although my baseline BP has risen a little since coming off amlodipine, I shouldn't need to go back on the tablets. This means I am now down to my lowest number of different medications and probably the ones I will be on for life:- Penicillin to help with bacterial infections as bone marrow transplant patients often have under-active spleens. (1 x 250mg twice a day ) Thyroxine to help with my under-active thyroid gland. (1 x 150mcg once a day ) Hydrocortisone to help with my under-active adrenal glands. (20mg Morning, 10m

T + 854 Happy New Year

It seems an age ago but New Year's Day was just under 3 weeks past so a Happy New Year to all my readers. Before moving on to other things just a quick medical update. I went to the transplant clinic last Wednesday and it is very much steady as she goes. I've tolerated coming off the ciclosporin fine and apart from a couple of patches of dry skin the GVHD seems to be lying low. The ciclosporin caused my blood pressure to rise when I was first put on it back in September 2008 so I was put on a blood pressure tablet called amlodipine. In theory now I am off the ciclosporin I can come off the amlodipine as the chances are my blood pressure should go back to normal. The consultant I saw suggested I check my blood pressure at home a few times and take these readings in to my GP and get him/her to manage my withdrawal from amlodipine. So I've started drawing up my little spreadsheet of readings and will be off to see my GP next week. I mentioned a while back that 2011 will be a y

T + 826 Simon of a Thousand Days

Although today is 826 days since my transplant it is also another sort of milestone, 1000 days since I started having treatment for my Lymphoma. Before my transplant there were four rounds of chemotherapy and these began 1000 days ago today. Not much more to say about that really other than it is a nice round number. Over the next week or two I'll be looking over the blog from the last year and doing a bit of a review and a look forward into 2011. Which is looking like it will be a year of change one way and another. I've fought off another bad cough and cold over the last week and only had to have one day off work to help cope with it. It was pretty bad on one night and I came close to calling the hospital to see if I needed to go in but I managed to survive on my own. I'm left with an annoying slightly chesty cough but that is going albeit very slowly.

T + 807 I knew you were going to say that

There is a certain set of associations that go together to form a stereotype. Unix Sys Admin = Geek, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars, Maths, Science, Rationalism, Scepticism, Atheism, Humanism. Ok maybe I added the last four on and that's just me. I do also conform to many of the other aspects of that stereotype though. However I also feel the need to say "I am not a trekkie " of course all trekkies say that but it is true in my case. No really. I've spoken before about my atheism and this is part of a larger scepticism about anything new age, psychics, alternative medicine etc. I have even been known to bend people's ears about this if they will stand still long enough to listen. Of course some people, well actually one in particular, enjoys baiting me for his entertainment with various outrageous statements like Dawkins is your pope etc. He should know better really given he is currently researching for his PhD in Neuropsychology however

T + 802 Writers' Toolkit Part 6 The Writer's Smoking Jacket

For the final plenary session of the day we all filed back into the slightly chilly main auditorium to hear an address from the novelist Graham Joyce entitled The Writer's Smoking Jacke t. The Writer's Smoking Jacket Graham Joyce began his talk by holding up a paperback book and saying "This is a Tardis . It is bigger on the inside that it is on the outside and it can transport you in time and space." Which is a brilliant metaphor for a book. However, he intoned that in this time of the digital age writers must face up or fossilise . "They have invented a better Tardis". He then, in a similar vein to how Jim Crace had started the day, explained how he grew up in a mining village near Coventry and after taking himself off to a greek island for twelve months he returned to the UK with a deal for his first novel. Before that he too, like Crace, had a romantic image of a writer as someone who wore a brocade smoking jacket, ate kedgeree for breakfast and smoked

T + 801 Writers' Toolkit Part 5

The last seminar session I attended before the closing address from Graham Joyce was one of the sessions that had been held on the same topic earlier in the day but this time it was with a different panel. Real Writing Lives – 2 Writers sustain their creative careers in different way. Our Real Writing Lives panel sessions give you an opportunity to hear established writers talk about the reality of their writing lives. Brenda Read-Brown : writer Helen Cross : writer Naylad Ahmed : writer, former Development Producer: BBC Radio Ceri Gorton (Chair): Relationship Manager, Literature: Arts Council England, West Midlands In this session the three panelists spoke about the experience of being a full time writer and what that really means in terms of earning a living and how much time is actually spent writing. Helen said she had been a full time writer for 12 years and to some extent she will do any sort of writing that pays. She had written articles and reviews when asked and also done wri