On yer bike!

I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that my trousers are all feeling a little tighter around the waist than they did before. They still seem looser everywhere else, but the waistband is definitely tighter. My immediate response to this was the thought that I must have been undoing all my previous good work, and over-eating. After all, it’s very easily done.

So I stood on the scales, only to discover that I’ve neither lost nor gained any weight at all recently. I’m still the 90Kg that I have been for the last month or so. Now, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t too bad – I’m not specifically dieting while I’m on the chemotherapy drugs; the doctors tell me I need to keep strong and healthy, and weight loss programmes should come a distant second to that. And I’m lucky to be able to eat, and not be wracked with the sickness that many people suffer with chemotherapy, so I’m trying to steer a sensible balance at the moment and either stay stable, or perhaps lose weight very gradually.

Which leaves me with the puzzle of the waistband. However, a careful examination shows that my ileostomy is now on its own little mound of tummy; it almost has its own little one-sided pot-belly. Which is not how I remember it when I first acquired it.

So the current question is, have I lost weight all around it, with it remaining proud of my abdomen, or is it actually becoming more prominent? If the latter, this kind of begs the questions is this normal, and how much worse will it get? My background concern is whether or not the ileostomy is herniating in some fashion – so tomorrow I think I’d better give the stoma nurses a quick call, if only to set my mind at rest.

And in the meantime I re-instigated my exercise programme, and went for my first bike ride in a while, on the basis that (a) I need to improve my stamina, (b) the weather was nice for it today, and (c) maybe it will help trim the tummy a little, even though I know it’s the wrong sort of exercise for that! In the end I spent 30 minutes cycling down to the sea, which was glorious. And as I arrived the sun broke through the clouds and bathed the coastline in sun. Lovely.

Mind you, having got there I was completely exhausted, and needed 20 minutes rest before spending nearly an hour cycling slowly home again. And this afternoon I’ve managed to achieve precisely nothing apart from a couple of naps. However, I’m pleased to have nearly tripled my previous longest distance, managing a 13 miles round trip. If tomorrow is sunny I’ll aim for sometime a little shorter – perhaps a 10 mile loop – and try not to completely wear myself out in doing it.

I’ve been “googled” – twice!

I’m trying to gently increase my level of fitness after my operation, and one of the chosen weapons is my bicycle. I’m sticking to mostly circuits of the local roads, generally only looking to spend 30 minutes or so in the saddle at a time. Given this is on a mountain bike with big chunky tyres, that limits my distances to 3 or 4 miles or so at the moment, which is enough to gently raise the heart rate rather than anything more serious – Lance Armstrong I am not 🙂

Anyway, today I decided to venture a little further afield (literally) and head over some common land and down some unmade lanes that run parallel to the sea. To get there took me through a small housing estate, where (to my surprise) I met the Google Streetview mapping car, who was obviously doing the local area. So I cycled on, wondering if at some point I’ll show up on their imagery, completed my ride, put the bike away, and walked into my study, only to see the same Google Streetview car turning around in front of my house.

So at this rate you could see me once on my bike, pedalling off for a nice ride, and once again, in my study, staring out at the cameras. I wonder how long it takes them to get the data online?

Half-term hiatus

This has been a slightly strange week. There have been a couple of real high points for me personally, but most of the time the days have flown by with me in a somewhat trance-like state, barely noticing what’s been going on around me. I do wonder at the thinking of people who make a conscious decision to take drugs that do this to you, and then call it recreation. I find the whole process extremely frustrating; the lack of control, the loss of concentration, and the lack of clarity of thought – it all makes me feel less like me.

But perhaps that’s the very result that some people are trying to achieve?

Still, the high-point of the week for me was that I had to go into the IBM offices at Hursley. Another patent disclosure that I’ve been working on for some time had finally reached the point where it was ready to be filed with the US Patent office, and this required that I sign some papers and FAX (how quaint!) them off to the lawyers in the USA. This felt like a real milestone for me, as it was the first time I’d been back into the office since mid-March.

In practice, the drive in was fine, signing the papers and getting them FAXed off took just under an hour, and while I was there I figured I’d go look up a few friends and just say “Hi!” to prove that I was really still alive. Of course, it was the week of the school half-term holidays, so many people were actually out on vacation, but I still managed to catch up with about half a dozen friends (Kevin, Bharat, Dave and Peter amongst others) and it was great to chat about things going on in the world of work again. In the end I left Hursley after a couple of hours, and drove home on a real high.

However, once home I felt really tired; a quick nap after lunch turned into the entire afternoon asleep. Which came as a bit of a shock – I’m obviously still not as fit as I think I am.

I’ve also started my fledgling exercise programme. After receiving the all clear from my consultant to do whatever exercise I felt comfortable with, I’ve been trying to get out on my mountain bike again, while the weather seems to have been trying to prevent me. But this week we’ve been blessed with fair weather, so I’ve finally been able to get back in the saddle again. And it’s nearly killed me. My first ride: 1 mile. Result? Knackered.

But I managed 2 miles on the second ride, and just over 3 miles on the ride after that. I’m clearly not ready for the Tour de France yet, as I’m exhausted at the end of each ride, but I can see the marked improvement, and it feels great to be riding again, even if I’m only doing those miles on smooth roads rather than down nice country bridleways. Hopefully once I’ve managed to build up enough stamina to manage more reasonable distances then I’ll see about venturing further away from civilisation.