Day 30 – ‘Does my bum look big in this?’

As most of the UK is currently enjoying (or not enjoying dependant on your viewpoint) a blanket of snow, we here on Dartmoor are, well, not.

Very disappointing for those of us that are not currently at work, those of us who would relish their daily recuperation routine in the snow. Alas currently this is not to be.

Pleasingly 30 days in my walking routine which started off as ‘around the house’ to ‘around the block’ is now up to 2 miles a day. The bitterly cold crisp weather has added a different dynamic to the whole thing but in a positive way. In an old fashioned way I like to think that getting cold crisp air in your lungs is good for you, certainly makes me feel good that’s for sure.

At this stage of recovery the close support from the GP practice continues. The full plethora of blood tests for liver function, blood count and renal function has just been retested. My inflammation market (CRP) was high several weeks ago, about the same time as I was in pain and digestivly still not knowing whether it was Christmas or Easter.

Pleasingly this is coming down, in the right direction, which shows things are repairing internally.

For me the main functions I want to be ‘up to snuff’ are the liver function and white cell count. As chemo veterans will know these two are vitally important to the continuing ability to tolerate chemotherapy. Over the course of the cycles these gradually tail off, sometimes getting soo low that treatment is suspended. White cells in particular bounce back up pretty quickly. This is all too familiar to me as last time around at ‘cycle 6’ my liver starting waving the white flag. After a brief respite treatment restarted and the poor old thing got another battering. This is also part of the ‘collateral damage’ that chemotherapy causes. I ended up with ‘NAFL’ (non alcohol related fatty liver) . This quite painful condition was nevertheless short lived and with the consumption of cranberry juice and milk thistle soon returned to normal.

Has my stomach shrunk? Mmmm I don’t know, this is something that I ponder daily. You see I am still unable to cope with large portions of food in any quantity. What do I mean by large portions?

To give you an idea, a ‘teaplate’ size meal for me would be a large portion. I can just about manage it but need a lay down afterward usually accompanied by frightful chest pains.

My current norm is 3 little plastic tubs of ‘whatever’ spread across the day.

Who’d have thought you could squeeze a roast into such a little pot. A Borrowers meal.

Spreading out my intake also has the benefit of spreading out the output from Little Simon as well.

He still likes to keep me on my toes by deciding to pass out pure liquid periodically. Ha, I have the measure of him now though, and before I get dehydrated (which happens pretty quickly) A glass of dioralyte is taken on board and equilibrium is restored.

Little Simon is not the only one who misbehaves to keep me in my toes.

I mentioned on a previous post the 3 things that can go wrong with the stoma bag: leakage, pancaking & balooning. These 3 comedic sounding foibles can range from annoying to downright messy!

For some reason I seem to be partial to a spot of ‘ballooning’ – this is where the air admittance valve sticks and does not release gas, resulting in over inflation of the bag’ – for some reason this happens regularly with me, the last time it was due to an errant ‘pea skin’ blocking the valve.

Sometimes this can be relived by a gentle press of the bag. Oh how rewarding that is when you hear the “ppffffffffff” coming from underneath your undergarments. However this relief is not all ways so forthcoming.

Today was one such deflation failure. During my daily circuit as I passed the house with the ghastly fence I noticed that my coat and fleece were suddenly ‘rather tight’. Externally placing my hand over Little Simon it dawned on me that I had ince again ‘ballooned’ .Briefly pausing outside the ghastly fence house I gently pressed against my coat. Bravely pressing as much as I dare bought no relief. Any further depression of my coat could prove disasterous, mission cancelled and regroup

At the Piano Tuning shop I reassessed the situation, stood outside the window with the Steinway behind I hoiked up my outer layers and using the reflection in the window could see the full extent of the swelling.

“Mmmm I could try and do a manual vent here” I thought. No, no , no that was not going to work for a number of reasons:

  1. It is freezing cold, Little Simon (and I) will freeze
  2. Cannot guarantee that just air will come out
  3. Spraying the piano shop window with excrement may well be against the law

On balance I decided to return home and vent on home turf.

The ‘manty girdle’ was doing a very good job of containing the pressure , and in the safety of the bathroom I removed all combustible materials before I went for a ‘manual vent’

Thankfully (and with minimal use of toilet roll) a successful depressurisation was performed.

Steam cleaner and Dettol stood down. We live to fight another day


Day 28 – ‘Adjustment’


Day 32 – ‘The beast from the East’


  1. Steve Boot

    Simon, no it doesn’t “look” big it IS “huge” :). Perhaps you should target that ghastly fence. If your art work is not an improvement perhaps it will be a hint. Keep up the good work on building them white blood cells and conditioning your liver for the next series of “bouts”.
    I know my operation yesterday was just elective knee surgery but it gave me opportunity to see first hand how right you were about how wonderful the health professionals are. I am looking forward to getting some of that winter air into my lungs too.

  2. Cindy

    Thank goodness the piano shop was not defaecated upon. Though I’m enjoying the image of a good spray job – like ghost busters. C x

  3. Angie Ellis

    You can always smile and find the funny side of things when little Simon is going through the terrible twos in public, thank goodness for the girdle averting a disaster in public x

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