Category: Work

Transplant +1,097: Third Birthday

Yesterday was the third anniversary of my stem cell transplant. This year’s card was more of a story book than a card …

Super Timmy birthday card

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging and my response to the vaccine being uncertain (I’ve had recent positive and negative antibody tests), I’m being extremely cautious about the outside world. This means I’m still working from home and probably getting out no more than a couple of times a week – the vast majority of events being outdoors.

The pandemic and all this time at home has had a positive side. I’ve been able to finally repair a Commodore VIC 20 that I bought some years ago for £2.19. Bargain! I have, however, spent rather more on socketing and replacing the faulty chips.

Chips removed, tested and sockets added. And in the case of UD1 – the CD4066BE – replaced.

All this work obviously needed an investment in a new soldering and desoldering station. And a Penultimate+ cartridge and disk drive emulator from ‘the future was 8 bit‘. (The disk drive emulator works on my Commodore 64 which may also have been recently acquired … I am nothing if not frugal with my hobbies).

Cleaned, reassembled and fully working – my VIC 20 about to run some 1980s games

But I’m still rubbish at gaming.

304 is not the highest of high scores I’m sure. Wondering if I’m Dirty Tim or Teflon Timmy to be honest.

The Sharps have also been getting some love and attention. You can find my ramblings about a ‘Moonlander’ game that I wrote over on my other blog.

And where would I be without Gnu? (Richer, probably, but with even more time and money to spend on ‘smelly old computers’). Later this week I’m joining the Taffia’s Fish and Chip Run from Chepstow to Aberdyfi. Although it takes place on Saturday, I’ve taken Friday and Monday off work so that I can beat off the increasing effects of fatigue I’m feeling these days. I’ll be revisiting the hotel near Chepstow that Jane and I had our wedding reception at 30-something years ago for Friday evening. Saturday will be a one-way trip – a 280 mile epic is well outside of my (safe) driving abilities in a single day now. I’m looking forward to heading up to Gnu’s spiritual home – Portmerion – from near Aberdyfi on Sunday. A leisurely drive back to Derby on Monday will complete the travelogue.

Another gratuitous picture of Gnu, taken while waiting for his MOT earlier on this year. Passed with flying colours, naturally.

Be seeing you …

Transplant +132: Return to work

Yesterday was supposed to be Blue Monday, but I was excited to be granted permission for a phased return to work. So I did return, today. I’m going to be working reduced hours Monday – Wednesday for the next few weeks to see how it goes. I’m now home and although I’m more tired than I’m used to being at 4pm, I’m happy that I’m back.

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Back in the office and working for the first time since 28th February 2018

My first Rituximab maintenance chemotherapy is scheduled for Friday. This will be the first of my bi-monthly maintenance sessions over the next three years (Brexit permitting, obviously). I’m hopeful that the Rituximab won’t stall my improving blood counts too much. It would be disappointing if it did jeopardise my ongoing return to work – and a more normal life. I’m assured that it should be more straightforward to cope with than last year’s chemotherapy regime, but I do know people who have struggled with it.

And then there’s my ‘childhood’ vaccinations (again, Brexit permitting). The transplant team at Nottingham provided my schedule a few days ago. It looks as if I’m going to be a pin-cushion again after a few months respite since the transplant.

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Vaccination schedule. There’s a second page as well!

One positive thing from last year is that I no longer have a needle phobia. I still won’t watch what my medical team are doing, but I no longer mind them doing it. Amazingly I’ll even happily administer subcutaneous injections myself.

Off balance

I’m feeling a little off balance at the moment. Last Wednesday I was busy telling the ARIS and webMethods user groups that “numbers don’t speak for themselves”. I was talking about the creating business cases, but I believe the statement to be true more generally. Numbers only make sense if you can relate them to a specific context. Furthermore, the numbers used must report or measure something meaningful, otherwise there’s no point in collecting the data.

Anyway, this was me in action at the event. It looks a little as if I’m conducting an auction and that the chandelier is about to bring it all to a messy end.

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I’d had an active week up to that point, and although I spent Thursday in the office, that day was busy too. Here’s my steps chart for the first part of the week …

First-Half

… 43,611 in all. I should have been feeling great! Nicely (but not stupidly) over the 10,000 steps a day average we’re supposed to achieve, according to the NHS and others. But having wittered on about context, you should already know that I’m about to tell you what happened next.

Full-week

An average of under 1,700 steps a day for Friday to Sunday. Monday to Thursday wiped me out, so I’ve spent most of the time asleep or moping around on the sofa. I haven’t been eating (much) either.

I feel that given my opening salvo I should now provide some context to these numbers. After all, you could just assume that I’ve been really lazy for the last three days. I wish that was true!

My best case hypothesis is that I picked up a bug (or mild food poisoning) early last week. As I was rather ‘poorly’ on Thursday evening that explanation could make sense. My worst case hypothesis is that the lymphoma has started to put on a bit of a sprint. I’ve been feeling increasingly fatigued for some weeks now, with even the most sanguine of the consultants that I’ve been seeing starting to suggest that chemo might be needed ‘soon’. Having spent 2.5 years on watch and wait, I’m not sure if ‘soon’ means weeks or months or a year or more … sometimes I don’t want to know the numbers at all.

Anyway, the next few days should help me figure out which of the hypotheses is right. I’m starting to get a bit of energy back today, so I’m hopeful that the bug explanation proves to be the right context for last week’s steps chart.