Janet and I did get away on holiday last week, boarding the 43,000 ton MS Balmoral at Newcastle on the 29th July, and sailing via Orkney, Mull and Lewis to the remote Shetland Isles, before returning to Newcastle on 5th August.

Due to Janet’s persisting back pain, which we attribute to the many known secondaries in the lumbar spine and pelvis, she was unable to go on any excursions, but we did visit Kirkwall, the main town, where we hired a wheelchair (for ¬£3) from the splendid Orkney Disability Forum, right next door to the bus station where the shuttle from the ship stopped.

We managed a similar outing in Shetland, using a wheelchair from the port itself. However by the end of the holiday Janet was becomming very tired, as her pain was not diminishing. We were so very grateful to our family, Emma and Jamys, and Rachel and Phil, for providing lifts to and from the docks, as the planned journeys by train would probably have been very difficult indeed.

The day after we returned home Janet had a CT scan of the thorax and abdomen, the results of which we shall discover on Thursday, when we see the Oncologist. Meanwhile the Palliative Care Team, based at St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield, are trying to improve pain control, initially by adding low dose amitriptyline, 10mg at night. This may also help Janet’s current lack of appetite, which has led to significant weight loss.

So Janet is still being assessed and her treatment modified by both the oncology team at Weston Park Hospital and by the Palliative Care Team at St Luke’s Hospice.



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