Monthly Archives: August 2018

Good news and bad news

It’s about time I posted here again, isn’t it?  And what would be a better time than today, when (after a 50-minute delay) I saw a medical professional (who wasn’t the person my meeting had been arranged with), who told me that my recent MRI scan (which hadn’t fully worked, including perfusion, but had at least succeeded in the basics) showed my brain tumour material has… receded!  Probably just due to the swelling going down, but still, she said it was a good sign.

This occured shortly after my return to work on a part-time basis, which in turn followed my successful OH assessment at the end of July — and if you think I’m late telling you about that, well, I almost didn’t make it in time that day!  I’d love to say it was due to massive delays on the London Underground (which are normally a matter of course), but in fact, it was due to me, ahem, being engrossed in StarCraft II (which I’m enjoying rather more than the original, which I’d finally finished), and only realising, when by chance I glanced at my clock at nearly 11am, that I had 45 minutes to get from Finchley to Ladbroke Grove… imagine if I’d been too late, and thus I wasn’t allowed back to work even now!

(I’d have had to move out of here and return to Worthing… and while I love my folks, I don’t want to be stuck in that dismal town again — indeed, I want to rescue them from it!)

But back at work I am, as of two weeks ago — two non-consecutive half-days to start, then three consecutive ones last week, and four consecutive ones this week (including today).  It means I’m getting back into the workplace, receiving happy smiles from all the people who missed me, regaining access to my computer (and my desk!), proving my brain’s working as well as ever (including my password memory), and even taking care of one yuge job: creating e-mail inboxes for regional groups of the medical professionals we deal with (but not the kind who I met today, of course), thus leaving me free to set up a Surface for a bloke who interacts with a publication from tomorrow onwards.  I think “boss lady” and senpai in particular have been glad to see me return, and help out with the workload!

However, while I acknowledge that it’s best I return to full-time work slowly, I found out today that I’m running out of sick leave for the year, and that I’ll have to start using my normal annual leave to account for my days and half-days off, otherwise they’ll have to halve my pay during September!  Hey, I wanted to be back at work a lot sooner, but never mind, I’ve got some left this year, and it’ll reset in 2019.  And I might even be able to work a full day after the coming “long weekend”, if all goes right, which will herald my final return!

Naturally, being back at work hasn’t improved my sleeping patterns: I still find myself lying awake in the middle of the night (having gotten off to sleep initially without problems), wondering if I’ll ever get enough rest.  Trying different things, like going to bed at 11pm, midnight, 1am doesn’t work any more than eating dinner at 7pm, 6pm, 5pm, or taking my medication at different times — and even “sleep aid” tablets (as I don’t want to risk full-blown sleeping pills) only sometimes help if I take them in the middle of the night.

This may have come to a head last week: although I haven’t had a full-on return to the pre-surgery days of “mind static”, I still get strange dizzy spells now and then, and on Tuesday I had two on the same day, which seemed to lead to tingling in my right leg!  However, I’d just started taking over-the-counter iron tablets, in an effort to combat “restless leg syndrome” (which may well be what woke me up, as at first I began sleeping like a baby!), and my most recent batch of anti-epilepsy levetiracetam was given to me in boxes of two completely different brands (apparently something my local chemist can’t resolve with the supplier), so either one might have been a temporary cause of resurgence.

Fortunately both of these were potentially resolved today, by that medical professional I saw: she ensured I got batches of 1,000mg and 500mg tablets of the same brand from the hospital pharmacy, and she also said the iron tablets wouldn’t mess with my head, so I took one with dinner (as well as a magnesium-rich banana) — hopefully this means I’ll sleep well, and my right leg won’t feel like it needs amputating.

Aside from leg aches and itching at night (probably caused by lamotrigine, which I’ve been cleared to try reducing as an experiment), and possible weirdness resulting from temporary medication issues, it seems I’m back in good health, with nothing seriously bad happening to me.  However, while I don’t have to endure anything as bad as “mind static”, now and then I’ll experience what I could call “brain twinges” — momentary memories of songs, possibly inspired by general sounds, and perhaps with a little déjà vu, but without that notorious symptom of being unable to understand the English language for as much as a minute.

(One potential source of “brain twinges” perhaps being Gorillaz, of whom I now have so much material that I can’t put them in equal rotation with Radiohead and Jamiroquai any more — instead, they’re in my headphones alongside the late, great Prince!)

It’s worth saying that I’m climbing again (in defiance of the quacks), almost back to my old skill level — and more importantly, I’ve been doing it with “best mate”, who hadn’t climbed in even longer a period of time!  I’ve also started at least matching with women through a certain mobile dating app again, and though I don’t want to jinx things, romantically I may be in with a chance — and if not, I am at least making new female friends.  I’ve even restarted my guitar classes, and found I’m as good as before… it’s almost like riding a bike, isn’t it?

Just a pity that my personal trainer’s been unwell lately, and also suffering from lack of sleep — and since he went through brain surgery earlier in life, I wonder if we’re going through something similar, maybe down to the hot summer weather, a shared virus… or a government conspiracy?