BEGINNING TO RATTLE

I think I’m on the pink ones bottom left

Pills, pills and more pills! The day starts with a heart pill and 3 Ducolax softeners to keep the “bag” free and then around 8 a.m. three of the new big chemo pills ……. 12 hours later another 3 of those large chemo fellows …….. please don’t shake me!

One week down on the new revised program, no noticeable side effects as yet, so stay positive. Deep down I still feel I’m missing something along the way …….. must keep away from the internet which only makes me depressed, but that, I feel, is because I’m not being told everything …… maybe there’s nothing to tell, but I need a lot of reassurance at this time in my life.

Into week 2 of the pills and all seems well at the moment except, some shortness of breath on waking, but after a serious bout of nose blowing the system finally runs on air!

The time is rapidly approaching when “cabin fever” will strike and some good old “fettling” will begin in the workshop with a view to tarting up The No Excuse Cub and Superglitz. Brenda’s TY125 will also get the treatment and then some sales can take place.

A “new” to me Rover has come up and could easily be where I’m heading. Reasonable price, no state taxes as such, only 70K on the odometer and a few extras I like.

Gotta love  the detailing polish and the “Grille”

……. and supercharged

Unlike me, it better not be rattling!!!!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

PILLS PLEASE

With surgery rejected life switches back to pills! however, trying to get to speak/see the Doctor is proving  difficult with some dumb arsed receptionists who don’t seem to understand!

Thursday, and not recovering from surgery, (thank God) and  Durango and Cortez are up to speed, so progress is being made despite the hiccups. It looks like Cortez will have the pills tomorrow so I should be starting this weekend.

From what a Durango nurse has told us it is 6 pills a day for two weeks, then a week off, and then back to the cycle which is food first then  pills ……. 12 hours break then food and pills. ……….. and as far as can be seen ……… that’s for life!……… however long that may be ??

The ultra expensive pills are here! thank goodness our special prescription rate covers them (I was fearing the worst) but I’m very happy they are not going to break the bank. I was also in Infusion again at South West and the port, which hadn’t been used since 12/20/19, functioned perfectly much to my surprise.

 

TONY DOWN

CLEARING UP MISCONCEPTIONS

There now starts a week of clearing up misconceptions among all my medical teams who, despite ALL modern means of contact, seem to have blundered their way through to where we are today!

That was Monday, and now here we are on Thursday and ZERO progress and still no wiser. The only nurse/sec we did speak to said she would be emailing all the details including medication which needs to be picked up in Cortez for Sunday/Monday use before I check in and again NOTHING!!   I used to think Hospitals were supposed to reassure the patient in stressful times but this episode is leaving me COLD and overall VERY WORRIED by the general lack of concern and timeliness.

I also happen to be VERY CONCERNED and WORRIED by the overall operation and lack of knowledge regarding recovery time.

But I’ve already had TWO of those

Well bad luck with the Constitution

Good luck with that

Friday and I’m off to South West hospital to pick up the “new” medications for use on Sunday night! get that done and a new pack of diapers …… just in case! They do say the “bum” needs retraining after its long 8 month holiday!!!!!

“Do these pills cure ALL cancers ?”

Home again and a surprise call from the surgeon which achieves nothing  as before anything can be said she is off into surgery and now we are 3 hours down the road without a recall.

The return call comes in at 1410 when we are both getting ready to go to work. Yes, after review of the scans (which they have had since mid December) the rectal tumor is down 60% in size and under control by the chemo. The “Chemo Maintenance” will be the pills and periodic scans will let us know if it grows back again or is staying where it is. The question of the reconnect surgery, which she told me was a very simple procedure doesn’t sound quite so rosey after all and suddenly there are a whole load of risks which were not discussed during the October meeting.  What was a “nip the tumor and remove” and reconnect the pipes and get rid of the ugly stoma and bag seems now fraught with possible problems of leakage and worst case scenario of DEATH!   ……… or do nothing and keep the ugly bag! Considering all the info I had read on the internet (I’m glad I did) and now hearing from the “Expert in the field Surgeon” of all the problems I’m left with ONLY ONE choice!!!!! So the trip to Denver is now CNX despite the airline ticket which was purchased in early January to comply with their ONLY instructions. However from what I have heard, and what my mind was telling me all along I’m very pleased not to be having this op.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWO WEEKS AWAY

Only two weeks until I’m on the table up in Denver undergoing surgery! Side effects are still a pain, but a way of life, and seeing the body falling to pieces is not a pleasant daily experience.

The mind mulls over every scenario, questions the what ifs, and tries to put a brave face on everything, but in truth is worried, scared, and not at all feeling “that all is well”. Maybe its because I don’t know all these people in Denver. For them its just another surgery, for me more a life or death event over which I have no control and seemingly no say in.

Having this done the first time didn’t seem that big of a deal, although I wasn’t expecting so much pain from the onslaught of compressed air and the ugliness of the final “stoma”. However, I did accept the necessity of the op as my system would have become totally blocked up left to its own devices.

Perhaps the vicious side effects are whats causing my reservations about all this as hair and teeth are falling out and other normal services are now anything but. Poor hearing and speech, lack of sensitivity of touch and the sudden loss of balance do nothing for my confidence.

Yes, I’m shit scared I might not wake up in the aftermath of this surgery. I have fought my way through the 12 sessions of chemo but my mental and physical resources are coming to their end. I can only hope there is enough left to endure this and recover.

Well you hear about these “things” I but this one is one of the nightmares I can do without!!! The hospital in Denver rang with the details of my upcoming visit which they claim was for LIVER Surgery and NOT what had been agreed or even discussed. No, No, No!!!! I remember the story of the man who had to go in for a leg amputation and when he came round they had taken the wrong one!

Needless to say with three hospitals involved in my survival someone has screwed up somewhere and it would seem my first visit to Denver was a complete waste of time as it was all discussed and liver surgery, which can only be done in two sessions, with a 6 month recovery was considered a COMPLETE non-starter as there is no guarantee that it won’t come back and that a daily pill can keep it under control.

We must get this sorted this week and get everybody’s assurance they know EXACTLY what we are removing and reconnecting! The last time we were in contact they said the surgery would be “non-invasive” and robotic

Doesn’t look non-invasive to me! looks more like a complete engine and gearbox change

One week left, time to get on the blower and get these “Professionals” all on the same page …… and that will be MY PAGE lest we forget!!!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

OTHER THOUGHTS

 

Here I go again

News is in from Denver and the “op” is now planned for 2/3/2020 and I fly up there on United out of Durango …. but have to find a hotel for the night!!!! So book in Monday morning and get ready for the surgery.

Not really looking forward to any of this other than to be shot of the “bag” for good and maybe overcome the last of the side effects. They do say some could last forever!

Be very happy to be shot of this!!!

and this uncomfortable eyesore

Mentally an up and down week with lots of mixed feelings and emotions. After 7 months of all this it is difficult to come to terms with any of it. Some things can be done easily, others require a lot of effort and recovery. Last weekend I took the school skiing party to Telluride and was allowed to ski as a “Chaperone” ……. another chemo surprise was how my perfect sense of balance was suffering and although I didn’t fall I was certainly unsteady and had to think hard the whole time. Not the thing of “grace and beauty” I used to be, but there again I haven’t been on the slopes for four years!

The operation fills me with a lot of trepidation, I’m not feeling good about any of it. Questions I’m asking myself do not have any positive answers…….. and when do I get released?   ……do I have to go back AGAIN to have the mini bag removed ?  ……. do I go back after all that to see if its healed correctly ?…….. too many questions and not enough answers. Morning breathing has been difficult now that the running nose and eyes have just about stopped. Energy remains low and any effort requires pre-planning and rest time after the activity it makes you think…. is this all there is? Teeth are going missing at an alarming rate, and my scalp is itchy as my hair continues to fallout!!!  Looks like I’ll be wearing a hat from now on.

Plenty of hats, better get them washed!

Time to clean up and over to the Montezuma for afternoon pool. 20 players today and I get a first round bye, which with this number of players means 4 wins to be in the money and 5 to be either first or second. Win my next three so I’m in the money again after what seems like a long time! Happy with that.

Despite the Cancer it DID feel like the concentration was coming back at last

 

TONY DOWN

12th NIGHT AGAIN

 

Well it all went very quickly from rushing round in the last week of School getting all the medical issues completed to the very pleasant relaxation of NOT personally putting up any decorations or outside lights for the festive season.

The last of the chemo, the ongoing side effects, and what I expect will be some upcoming surgery, all said don’t put the decs up as you might not be able to take them down!

Last year the cables were still FROZEN to the ground in April!!

Still no news from the Denver Surgeon, no comments from Durango and no idea what is happening.

Meanwhile we will take down the inside decs today and get them back up in the loft. Decs all down and finally after a lot of head banging on loft beams its all stacked and put away.

Monday and the last day of my winter break, a few things to go into town for today, more wood chopping, and should be good after that.

All complete and ready for Day1 of the School driving 2020

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

2020 THEN ?

 

The clock struck ….. and the year clicks over

Being positive, one has to assume that “2020 MUST be better than 2019″…….. of course in my case that rather goes without saying. The news after the first colonoscopy at the end of June was anything but good with Stage IV Colon Cancer which had already migrated to the liver.

Fairly quickly the medics swung into gear and I was in hospital at the beginning of July for the slice’n’dice operation and the dreaded bag fitted.

What fun!

Now time to begin the Chemo which was initially going to be 8 treatments and then maybe radiation. The chemo, although overall unpleasant, was bearable and after 4 sessions the tumors were down by 20%. Then along comes a new Doctor and he adds another load of poison to the mix which ramps up all the side effects. Some of these side effects are really bad including, loss of hearing, voice going all gruff, pins and needles in the fingers, cracking of fingertips and skin, constant running nose and watering eyes ………along with the constant tiredness, and  thinning of the hair ……… thanks!

Just what I wanted

Seeing the damage this was doing to me the Doctor reduced the dosage of this new bag of tricks and eventually I was off it by the end of the 8 sessions. Up to Denver for a few quickie days although I didn’t really see or hear anything to tell where I was going other than to tell me I would not be doing radiation but rather another 4 sessions of chemo.

The “End of Chemo Bell”

The last 4 extra sessions were all completed by the Wednesday of Thanksgiving Week and then a couple of weeks before a second colonoscopy to see if the flue brush would go all the way round, so to speak, and then on the last day of School over to Durango for another MRI and a CT scan. That was all done by 12/20/19 and since then I haven’t heard a thing! It has to be said the Durango MRI was a lot more civilized than the “Blacksmith’s Shop” of the Denver set up.

BANG ! BANG!  …..non stop for nearly 40 minutes!

Now that we are in 2020 we will no doubt hear something soon.

Looking back on 2019 I did achieve something by getting the Beemer up to spec again and even had the 12,000 mile service done along with fork oil seals

Looks so much better

With the weather being so bad little or no cycling became the norm for the first 5 months of the year, and indeed it snowed on 5/21/19 which was our last day of school before the summer break. A few miles went in the books for May and June but then the shock of cancer and the ramifications therein put somewhat of a damper on things!

The Roubaix in parc ferme

It was hard work and a lot of determination to wrap up the year with a very modest 1113.32 miles. That was my fourth year on the bike and the total now stands at 11,390.93 which is almost half way round the Equator so I guess another 4 years to hit that goal.

My kind or race with a few pit stops

Some of you may remember that at the beginning of the year I embarked back on the “Nutrisystem Diet” and the weight came down from 215 to 175!!!! first 20 lbs by Nutrisystem and the next 20 care of Cancer and Chemo ?

The saving grace was the Doctors said I could drive the bus if I felt up to it and it gave me something to look forward to which I believe is essential with this sort of ailment.

Sounds like a plan to me!

During the early part of 2019 I ended up driving the School Ski Party on a fairly regular basis. The organizers said I could also act as “chaperone” for 2020 which would allow me to ski …… that will be good!

Still there

So after 12 treatments of three days apiece, (36 days of poison) I’m still here …..

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GETTING HOME

 

With all the chaos of bad driving and winter storms the millions of travelers press on regardless in their new quest of getting home! Phil who has been with us since Dec 23rd was due to leave yesterday at around lunchtime with a two part trip out of Cortez to LA via Phoenix.

His day was nothing short of a disaster caused in my opinion by poor planning and yet more airline stupidity. I thought that our local “puddle jumper” airline, Boutique, was better able to cope, but clearly not!

Another empty Boutique aircraft

Updates during the day with a diversion to Grand Junction, then some crap about crew duty time, then a fresh all female crew, then weather holds, followed by “boarding” or rather from one room to another and TSA …….. then Ooooops! sorry the flight is now going to Denver with 2 passengers!!!!!!! Sorry, by the way we don’t give you a hotel or rebook your flight and ……. they are ALL full for the next three days anyway!!!! WHAT A SHAMBLES.

My next trip to Denver for the surgery will be out of Durango!

3″ of snow overnight but they make it to Durango and Phil finally starts his return journey, and after a 6 hour layover is airborne for Burbank.  …….. “Time to spare, go by Air”

A very cold week with temps in the minus range overnight and not quite making freezing point during the day.

Meanwhile, in other news, Santa is still having trouble with the “V8” power of the sledge with a minor crash, by his standards, on the roof and a test flight down to New Mexico which didn’t end too well.

After all these problems and a recent bout of airline and private crashes Santa has opted for some more flying lessons from Frosty who is a QFI

Making it look easy

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS 2019

 

Yikes! he’s back!…….. and still not very good!

0830 and everyone still asleep. 2″ on the rail overnight so we are up to a White Christmas. Fire lit, TV yule log on so stereo time at the fireplace.

Its a BEEF today, with all the trimmings. Seems I’m on trimmings so I’ll be peeling and chopping vegetables shortly! …… mind you these Mimosa’s are quite DELIGHTFUL!!!!

Turns out to be my perfect Christmas drink!

Swede’s done and on a rolling boil, potatoes, parsnips and leeks all prepped and ready to par boil before roasting later on,  so my part of the operation is near done.

WHAT A BEEEEEEF!

It sa 7 POUNDER!

My part with the veggies

Pressie from Sally now up in a window ……. looking good, thank you.

Lunch came and went, forgot to take pictures, but it was superb one of the best, if not the best beef I tasted in 2019! Couldn’t finish it but plenty for Boxing Day along with Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, neither of which I had any room for.

Santa lands at Cozy

Side effects caught up with me around 2000 so off to bed and wake up to another fresh 2″of snow but very bright and sunny and no wind.

Brenda and Phil take a trip to Telluride as it really is a “bluebird” day, while I stay at home with the energy sapping side effects that I was hoping would be diminishing by now.

Forecasters keep issuing storm warnings but so far not much to slow everybody down. Currently down to 2-4″ by day and another 1-3″ overnight.

Well I made it to Christmas, hopefully a few more to come

 

TONY DOWN

 

BADGES, BAUBLES, BANGLES, & BEADS

Here’s the deal rabbits, I need a new sleigh from either Jaguar  or Range Rover, preferably with a V8

 

Not bad!

Oooooh, now that’s some accel !

Sadly some of the many Christmas presents I would have liked had to be put “on hold” as I’m still undecided on which vehicle to go for when I have finished all this medical stuff and surgery. If I survive the battle I can order what I please.

However, I do want to badge up the grille again along the lines of my earlier exploits when cars were very important to me and all the work involved keeping them in A1 condition both inside and out.

Quick refresher of “My” Range Rovers after a look at the Audi

My Audi pre the Saudi experience

RR1  Pre Gulf War for something to do

RR 2  Post Gulf War l bargain

RR 3 after arrival in Phoenix AZ

RR 4  …… before it started snowing!

If I continue down the RR road then the Shaq mobile would accept the badges without any problem to the grille.

Special grille, no problems for badges

The 2010 model I’m looking at could be improved with a chrome grille for a bit more WOW factor

I’m sure chrome would look better

A lot more POP!

 

Look what the rabbits found

The grille will be my personal history, RAF and my 14 years at RAF Coningsby, where I served on 29 Squadron (76-79), 64 Squadron or 228 OCU from (79-88), and finally 5 Squadron until Gulf War I in 1989. Then I was seconded to British Aerospace and 29 Squadron RSAF in Dhahran SA until 1994. I was also very privileged to serve on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from 1980-89. 30 years of my life on a grille!

64 Squadron always stood out as my career “high” as I was made Dep Flt Cdr and then as I was promoted after a stint in the Falklands I took over as Sqn Ldr Trg. Shortly afterwards we moved across the airfield to make way for the F3 Tornado and I then became the “XO” or deputy boss.

Former boss of 228OCU  Gp Capt Chris Coville, and my boss in the Falklands, presenting me with my 2000 hours F4 badge

During 1987 my Wing Commander, Steve Nichol was sent to the Falklands to command 23 Squadron and 9 aircraft leaving me to command 64Sqn/228OCU with 35 Phantom F4’s, 100 students and 55 instructors. They also gave me substitution pay which was a HUGE pay rise as I had more commissioned time than Steve and went to top pay Wg Cdr.

Christmas Eve  morning and a Winter Storm warning in effect until 1800 on Christmas night. Forecast up to 12″   !!!

Nothing as yet so Santa is off practicing ……. looking a bit on the rough side as he really isn’t used to this V8 power. Early morning test flights up and down the 145 in front of the house ……..

Didn’t think he would pull out of that one

Better down by the Town Hall

Better get him in for some breakfast

High speed run down by the church ……. and then some “bomb” runs

Could speed up delivery

……… and then he gets a bit “overconfident”  ………

10 degrees nose down/1000′  MAX!!!

as expected there is an almighty crash and the sleigh gets airborne again and collides with a tree by the school

No, he hasn’t got a V8 endorsement, or insurance for 3rd party damage to private property

They let him off with a ticket, and I’ve added my next year’s wish list if I’m still around. Things I would like in my stocking…….

Either one of these or,

This one will do if this is the choice

My old badges are all painted and ready at a moment’s notice

Other badges are still in the undecided basket but I do like this old RAF vintage one which has a lot of character

Even been pre-drilled for the job

sadly I can’t find 64 squadron in the right size …… these are a bit small at 3/4″ diameter

Next ones up in the range of “wants” are about 4cms

Might look good …. , but can’t find a 64 Sqn

A few Jag trinkets if I go that way ……..

Or another from  Range Rover

Well it did start to rain and snow but nothing much came of it other than the horrid damp feeling and temps down to 36F

The fire is lit, Santa has loaded up and will soon be on his way as here it becomes “Twas the night before Christmas etc, etc”……… seems a reporter from the local paper heard of the “crash” so that will be in the headlines

Meanwhile he has gone until next year,  I think someone has detuned the sledge. Seemed a lot quieter on take off and looked good on the fly by.

Up, up and away

Masterful stuff …… well done Santa

….. and to ALL a good night

 

TONY DOWN