Consulting the Consultant

May 4, 2017

Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the reality. On my way to see the oncologist for a progress report I felt as nervous as hell. I’ve no idea how I’m doing – I feel okay, I rest in the afternoons, I take my meds. I’ve cut out all alcohol, caffeine, and as much sugar as I can bear to be without. But only he know if all this stuff is doing what it should be doing.

He’s pleased.

No bad signs, no bad reactions to the chemo, he’s going to see me again in six weeks, after two more chemo sessions. I breathe again and feel encouraged. I tentatively ask if it’s okay to, ahem, kiss and cuddle. He says ‘You mean with each other?’ He’s such a wag. All the chemo literature I’ve been given bangs on about how powerful and toxic the drugs are, and happily exchanging bodily fluids is a no no. ‘Pah’ he says, ‘Do it as much as you like.’ Whoopee!

Sadly those pleasant imaginings popped like a soap bubble the next day, my second chemo session.

The fluids are dripped into my vein through a pump. The nurse set it for a two hour feed – nice and steady. Except she made a mistake and the whole bag went in in one hour. In effect, I overdosed. I was very sick, pins and needles everywhere, numb legs, trembling and slurring my speech. Must have been horrible for the other patients to hear all that going on behind the hastily drawn curtains around me. And so shocking for poor Amanda, I hate to be the cause of so much worry for her. I had to be wheel-chaired to the car for Amanda to drive us home. Ugh.

You have good days and bad days, and I have so many good days. Not this time.


On a lighter note, before all this, we had a few days in Bristol with Eleanor and Alex. We visited Tynesfield House, a massive country pile built with the fortunes from selling piles of guano quarried in Peru as fertilizer back here. It was actually a beautiful house, but as always I’m drawn to the bits that go on behind the scenes. Do click on the images to see them nice and big.


12:25 May 17, 2017

Hang in there, Steve. Den and I send you our thoughts and love. You have still retained your sense of humour and wit. How could you not as they are so much a part of you. We are waiting to hear when you can 'come up North' to see us xx

    13:11 May 17, 2017

    Yes, we're looking forward to coming up north!

10:45 May 6, 2017

Hey Steve, fab pics as always. I'm always drawn to the same kind of behind the scenes stuff as you. Make a book! Make 2 books! love xxx

Sam James
10:44 May 5, 2017

Hi Steve, Really great to hear you're making steps in the right direction, albeit with the odd (albeit rather worrying) blip but above and beyond the medical road you're having to travel down, your positive attitude is what shines through and I hope it continues to burn brightly. A friend of mine from school is currently going through treatment and operations for breast cancer and she found writing her care plan on a large white board so she can tick off the days really helps. I know everyone copes differently however but thought it worth a mention! Fantastic to admire your photography too - looks like a fantastic day out. Sending strength and positive thoughts, Sam x

Simon Thorpe
09:10 May 5, 2017

Hi Steve, I keep thinking back to the time in January when we were talking Winter Run sponsorship and Cancer Research being a worthy cause. Also, when Amanda popped around to talk about plans for the garden just before the work started. If you were trying to bring the subject up then and I wasn't listening I'm so sorry for not having been aware of what was going on. Even now after reading a couple of your blogs I find it difficult to comprehend how this has come to be and what you must be going through to fight it. If there's anything I or Niamh can do to help in any way, even a small thing, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm not 'religious' in the sense of the Catholic upbringing Niamh and Orla have had but our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Simon

Nick Havas
07:28 May 5, 2017

Fantastic shots and beautifully processed. I especially love the sieves hanging on the wall. Keep writing as well as shooting. Xx

Minnie Hartley
21:50 May 4, 2017

Steve I'm finding both your words and images inspiring. Sending lots of positive energy your way. Love to Amanda x

21:25 May 4, 2017

Hey Steve. Thanks for keeping us updated that sounds awful about the chemo overdose! bet the nurse felt pretty rubbish after as well. Beautiful words and photographs as always. BTW what is Guano???? x

    21:26 May 4, 2017

    Ah just checked and it's bird poo!

21:04 May 4, 2017

Love the pictures, love the blog. You rock Mr Steve. Xx

Steve Withey
19:56 May 4, 2017

My god I read this with a tear in my eye, I cannot begin to imagine the challenges you are facing right now but your positive spirit is truly inspiring. I am sending you even more positivity and every time I take a photo it will be another moment captured in this crazy and amazing world, albeit lacking the style and finesse of your photography. Keep doing what you're doing.

19:55 May 4, 2017

Wonderful You are wonderful Sorry to hear about the terrible experience

17:02 May 4, 2017

That "overdose" must have been so horrid; so scary for Manda too; I imagine the nurse felt pretty bad about it. Scroll back to the previous day - let's focus on the positive attitude of your consultant. I'm pleased he's pleased. Lovely atmospheric photos, Steve. I love the muted colours. Is that you I spotted in the first image - I recognise that hand on the camera? Love and hugs (seeing as you're allowed some hugs now!) xxx

16:50 May 4, 2017

Wish my veg patch looked like that! I'm reading a good book, co-incidently as your news broke. It's called 'The last Lecture' it's a guy in your shoes. Great read, inspiring and upbeat. Best line; The wounded lion still wants to roar loudly. Anyway, enjoying your blog. Keep shooting. -Yasmin

    17:37 May 4, 2017

    Thank you so much Yasmin - all encouraging words/quotes/sayings are most welcome! x


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