According to today’s Guardian, ‘iPad users watch more pornography’. On a less obscene note – this is a family-friendly blog – I can report that Viking iPad users write more blogs: please accept my apologies that I’ve been a pretty poor blog-writer recently and my somewhat feeble excuse that this has been in large part due to a lack of iPad, rectified yesterday when we were reunited.
It’s actually a free replacement iPad. Thanks to a friend schlepping it around town, we discovered that the old suddenly-defunct one was just within the two-year guarantee. The original was an ingenious present from a kind uncle while I was spending what turned out to be 4 weeks in hospital being diagnosed with myeloma, and has been massively useful (and fun) both then and since.
That also means that it’s been two years since my life changed forever in so many ways. At this time of year, there are all sorts of anniversaries: the day I went into hospital, the day (two days later) when I was told that I had blood cancer being most notable among them. Noticing those dates in the calendar is inevitable but can feel pretty maudlin. Thankfully, I found that although it was upsetting last year, it really wasn’t this year: it’s hard to generalise, but I’ve found with many things post-diagnosis that doing anything for the first time is most emotional for me, and the impact lessens – although of course there have also been new ‘first times’ to deal with in relapse.
But this isn’t a reflective emotional post: I’m not feeling either at this precise moment. It’s a Viking News Digest containing three big items that I really want to blog about but will try to keep relatively concise – all three could merit blogs of their own, but I’m afraid I need to clear the backlog in one!
1: Sporty Vikings Give 112% in Global Fundraising Effort!
If you check out http://www.justgiving.com/teams/vikings you’ll see that, since the running and cycling on 18th May in Brussels and New York, the fundraising target of £5000 has been smashed! I’m absolutely gobsmacked. A massive global round of applause to all of you: I can’t thank you enough and I’ve loved watching the totals rise so speedily! The percentage figure also reminds me of the phrase you’ll hear endlessly if you watch any kind of TV ‘talent’ contest these days: everyone’s always ‘giving it 110%’. If you played an X Factor Finals drinking game with that as the buzzword you wouldn’t last long… I’m now determined to GIVE IT 112% in the next leg of my treatment marathon (or decathlon is perhaps more what it feels like!). Talking of which…..
2: Helga the Great in Less Than Fortnight Till Stem Cell Transplant Countdown!
I’m due to go into hospital on 17th June for my Stem Cell Transplant. That’s really pretty soon. At the moment, I’m having various routine appointments prior to that. So far, I’ve had a lung function test: we have established that I have lungs, and they function. Phew. I will also need an echocardiogram (have heart; it functions) kidney function (you get the idea) and to go and see the dentists at the hospital (maxillofacial AKA Max Fax) which is just to check that I don’t need any teeth pulling out, as if so it’d be better to do that now. I’m pretty confident I don’t need any teeth pulling out, but maybe I shouldn’t tempt fate by saying that. I will also have an overall full-whammy rules’n’regulations briefing next week, after which I’ll probably post a bit more detail including things like when/whether I’m allowed visitors. Meanwhile, the potted summary of what an SCT involves is: 1) I get some sort of temporary line fitted to me for the pumping in of drugs and fluids and stuff and the taking out of blood; 2) I get a massive dose of something closely akin to mustard gas which will kill lots of things, including Myeloma the Puny but with various other healthy cells too 3) a day or two later I get given back some of my frozen stem cells (see the post on the warriors on ice!) which is the date myeloma patients tend to celebrate afterwards as the birthday of an entirely new immune system 4) I feel worse and worse as I reach a rock-bottom point due to the mustard gas and possibly have various infections etc 5) I gradually pick up as the stem cells will be re-booting my immune system 6) I get to go home! 7) I’ll still be feeling pretty awful and need to go regularly to hospital for a while, but at least I’ll be at home…
But that’s enough of that, for now. It won’t be pleasant but it seems like something it’s possible to forget the worst of once it’s over. Unfortunately I will lose my hair again, which I’m not at all happy about – in part because it makes something very private (my health) indiscriminately public for months to come – but that’s just something I’ll have to deal with, as with all the rest of it.
Luckily, the third news item reverts to unequivocally Good News:
3: Team Viking in Obscenely Generous Secret Birthday Present Shock!
On Friday May 30th 2014, I turned 35. The same age as Dante in the Divine Comedy! I’d arranged a big picnic in the park on the Saturday, which is something I have really missed the last two years: in 2012 I had to cancel it last-minute due to my ‘dodgy leg’ which turned out to be myeloma; and in 2013 I avoided celebrating since my birthday would also be the one-year anniversary of the day I went into hospital and I’d be feeling fragile. (I had an earlier party to mark 33 years and 333 days instead).
Somehow, not only was it not raining but there was an absolutely great turnout. My day was already utterly made by seeing everyone, and I was happily wandering round having half-finished conversations in a haze of Pimm’s, in the way you do when it’s your own party and there are too many people to catch up with all at once. But beyond that, there was a surprise presentation of THIS:
Ingenious present-giving strikes again! The card with so many lovely messages came accompanied with a t-shirt, hoodie, bag, flip-flops and water bottle all with a stylish Team Viking brand!
The back of the card I’m not going to show, this being as already mentioned a family-friendly blog, since it states a frankly OBSCENE amount of money from everyone as a ‘Fit FunD’ for me to continue personal training but also indulge myself in all things either fun or fitness-related! I was yet again gobsmacked and can’t begin to describe how grateful and buoyed up I still am by the fact that you all did this. I’m looking forward to providing quarterly reports on your investment…
The whole thing was organised in secret by my incredibly thoughtful and proactive and energetic friend who has been longing for a Viking name and will now be known as Philhilde the Magic-Maker (Viking names beginning with P or F being very hard to find, so I’m sure a little inventiveness is allowed). Three Viking Cheers and Helmets Off to you and all who helped – including the brand stylists….I’ve never been more surprised in my life and don’t think I ever will be! Sterling organisational skills… You will go far! Thank you.
It feels rather smug to write about all that online – but I know family and friends who weren’t there will also be cheered by it just as I was, and wanted to see the stunning Team Viking gear!
So, there we go: 35th birthday down, 0th stem cell birthday coming soon. Watch this space.
Yours, on the road to getting fitter and funner,
Helga the Slightly Older x