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18th May 2004.

Spoke to Doctor about chest pains , and he thinks it's probably due to being laid up for the last 4 months, and being out of condition. He's referred me to the nurse for an ECG (Electro Cardiograph). I only mention this as it seems to me to be as a result of the side effects/symptoms or condition, brought about by the cancer and/or treatment.

20th May 2004.

Spoke to Nurse at surgery, who did the ECG. Nothing unusual, except the Doctor collared me and handed me a prescription for Aspirin and a GTN spray (used by people with angina to rapidly thin the blood), "Just to be on the safe side". Makes me think he's not so confident about it being lack of condition! We'll see, because he's referred me to the chest pain clinic at North Tees Hospital. They rang me tonight to tell me my appointment was on 1st June. Pretty quick eh!

21st May 2004.

I've been to James Cook Hospital today, for the planning session of the Radiotherapy treatment. They put me through another scanner like machine, only smaller. I look like a side of beef in the butchers now, because they've put pen marks on me as reference points for my future visits. They told me to be careful in the bath, so the temporary marks don't come off. I told them it was no problem as I haven't had a bath for years..............I prefer to shower!

 Starting to feel a little apprehensive due to the possible side effects, now I'm approaching the treatment date. I'll keep my fingers crossed it goes without problems.

22nd May 2004.

I have now received a letter confirming that my National Insurance contribution will be paid on my behalf. I also had confirmation that the week which had been disallowed from my claim, had now been re-instated. All courtesy of that nice lady at the incapacity benefits office who took an interest in what had happened.

I have been for a walk along the Castle Eden Walkway every day this week. It's wonderful, and the weather has been perfect, as is the time of year. I was so moved, that I just had to put pen to paper to express my feelings.

I hope they're not too melodramatic, but the verse I penned was from the heart, and I called the first, "Beauty Blind", and the second, "Fanfare for Immortality" (click titles to view.)

31st May 2004

I've just returned from a long weekend in the Lake District, to find a letter from the incapacity benefits office waiting for me. Just when I thought I'd jumped through all the hoops and then some, they present me with another obstacle. Despite all the form filling I've done, both necessary and by mistake (theirs), I now have another 20 page document to complete, to satisfy them about my claim for them to pay my national insurance contribution, to improve my state pension. I almost lost the will to live last time around, but this is getting just ridiculous. Given that I'm not likely to be around to collect a state pension, the only beneficiary of an increased pension payment, will be my wife Lilian, who's widows pension will be increased by about 1. yes ONE POUND, per week (based on today's figures). I never realised until now, why so many people complain about the state benefits system, and I was one of those who thought that if you deserved it, your claim would be straightforward. Well how wrong can you be? I'm seriously thinking of not bothering, it's more trouble than its worth. Its bl***y demeaning.

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