Back to school

This is the first post for nearly a week; there are a mix of reasons for that, I’ve been more than normally tired and sleeping a lot of the time, and also when I have been awake I’ve been trying to get on with “normal life”, with rather mixed success, I must admit.

I’m the vice chair of my daughters school governing board, and Tuesday morning was the first time I’ve managed to attend a full board meeting since I was diagnosed with cancer. It was great to actually get back and take part in a meeting, and catching up with all that has been going on in the school in my absence. As you’d expect, they’ve been managing just fine without me, though it was nice to be welcomed back so positively. As expected, I collected some actions, including the task to produce an “investors in people” style report for the school; that may need to be targeted at the 2010 time-frame!

That afternoon was my youngest daughters sports day, so I also spent the afternoon at her school, watching the usual selection of egg and spoon, relay, sprint, and sack races. The children seemed to have a great time, and despite the weather being rather overcast, the rain held off until right at the very end of the afternoon, so everyone had a great time. Once the rain set in, we took the opportunity to spend some time looking through our kids work from this year, and chatting to their teachers. It amazes me how much the children actually do, and how early they start now. They seem to learn a lot more, a lot earlier than I did. I came away very impressed at the progress my kids had made through this year, and at the amount of effort that the teachers obviously put into teaching them.

Wednesday I spent the entire day asleep. Every time I woke up, I felt exhausted, and so went back to sleep again. I never seemed to get enough sleep, and the day just slipped by. Which was most strange.

Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day, and after so much sleep the day before I was feeling great, so I had a spur of the moment decision to go into the IBM offices to meet up with friends and colleagues, have lunch, an catch up on the discussion and comments on IBM’s decision to announce the closure of its final salary pension schemes. In the end I arrived in the office around 10:30am, and stayed until about 3:30pm; in between I caught up with loads of people (Tracey, Martin, Kevin, David, Dave, Dave, Kev, Adrian, etc etc etc) and managed to start reinstalling my laptop with the latest version of Ubuntu, and the core applications for operating within IBM. In the end, it was a great day, but by the time I left I was struggling to keep my eyes open, and once home ended up sleeping for the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening.

Friday morning my wife and I popped into Southampton and visited the new IKEA store. I’m glad we did so on a Friday, as it was busy even then. I can’t imagine what it must be like on the weekend – chaotic probably doesn’t even begin to describe it.

And today was the school Summer Faire. Which was fun, in a very wet, rainy kind of way. Still, its the first wet summer faire that the school has had in the last 15 years or so, so I guess we can’t complain too much. Turn out was probably down a bit, but we still had a lot of people turn up, and it was great to see lots of friends. I helped out on the sweet stall and the book stall, and tried my hand at being a salesman for an afternoon. I have to say I thought I did pretty well, in a street-hawker kind of way. We sold out all the sweets anyway!

And through it all, my chemotherapy treatments have been ongoing. My tiredness has been the worst I’ve known. I’ve had extensive blistering of the skin on the soles of my feet. And as usual, I’ve struggled to manage my ileostomy. But these are all things I can cope with. So its frustrating and annoying, but I’m still coping. And cycle 4 finishes on this coming Tuesday, with a week off to recover from cycle 4 before starting cycle 5.

Which I view as the beginning of the end of the chemotherapy, which leads to the reversal of my ileostomy. Bring it on.

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