Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giant Maiden Voyage

The Date: 5 December 2011

The occasion: Test ride on the newly built Giant:

Verdict: The stem is too long and I will put a shorter stem on, but otherwise everything seem to be perfect.

Hassles After The Fact

My Pajero was recently liberated of it's radio, just a symptom of the type of person roaming the streets in this beautiful country of ours... So I got a case number from the police (all they are good for lately) and put in a claim with the insurance. They sent me to Gearlock City for the replacement and then the shit started. These guys are really not up to scratch. They had me waiting 2 hours yesterday with an initial promise that they will sort it out within an hour or so. Then I asked them to sort out what they need to sort out and let me know when I must bring the car back. So this morning early they said they are ready for me and it will be quick. I drove all the way there, parked the Pajero in their workshop and waited. After an hour they told me they have a problem. There is damage to the console and that will need to be replaced. This I told and showed them yesterday already. So I have now spent 2 trips into town and back (30 minutes one way - 2 hours), 3 hours of sitting on my hind quarters playing hangman on my BlackBerry and I am exactly where I was yesterday morning early. Their level of service does not excite me at all.

In the mean time I am riding a bit, and yesterday afternoon I thought I would try and get a weekly jogging session going in my training program. I eventually managed all of 800 meters in 6 minutes. So this is something I can hugely improve on. My shoulder still hurts like crazy and the medicine does not really do anything.

I have worked on the alarm system and in between all that I am also doing some garden paving. The office work seem to be drawing to close for the holidays, so I am chased outside to get these chores done.
5 of the 7 rows are in place. Now for some green stuff inbetween.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stil the shoulder hurts

Pain is something that one cannot just ignore, no matter how hard you try. On Monday night I just could not sleep. The shoulder was hurting really badly. I eventually scratched in the medicine drawer and came across the last tramacet tablet and a single panado tablet. I popped these two and by 01:00 I started feeling drowsy and I could feel the pain ease a little bit.
Tuesday morning I made an appointment with our local GP and by 14:30 I was sitting in his consultation room telling him the shoulder saga as it unfolded in July. He also prodded and pressed, bent my arm every possible and impossible way and even made me do some stuff the Orthopedic guys did not think of. None of it hurt. So eventually he asked me: "What do you think is wrong and how should we treat it?" That is why I went to him. To get this exact question answered...
So we also went the cortisone injection, tramacet, lyrika route and will now wait and see. Now it is Friday and although I sleep fairly well after I do the tramacet thing, the shoulder is not really any better yet. At times when I sit in a very hunched position it feels as if the pain goes away, and it hurts most while I an upright like walking or standing.
I have ridden on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday and while in the riding position the shoulder is also not too bad. I think it must have something to do with the tumors in my abdomen and the irritation that it might cause on the diaphragm.
I would like to go for a ride this afternoon, but it has eventually started raining and it does look very wet outside. So I might have to do the indoor spinning thing...
Too muddy for training, nice weather for red wine and pizza and...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

That shoulder again

Shortly after starting chemo I developed a sore shoulder. Nobody could shed any light on the cause, but it eventually went away. If the injection I had had anything to do with it then maybe I should go for another injection.

Since Thursday I started developing the same shoulder pain and I was hoping it would go away, but last night (Sunday) it kept me awake for the best part of the night and waking up this morning it was really sore. The good thing about keeping a blog is that I could read back and see what actually happened. It seem that the shoulder eventually just got better and then the pain went away. So my strategy for now is to try and ignore the shoulder and carry on regardless.

My job for the next few days will be to expand the alarm system. This will keep me out of mischief and maybe some physical work will either heal or kill the shoulder.

On Saturday me and The Pretty One and her Mother In Law went for a short ride (18km) and even the 70+ Granny left me behind on the only little hill of the day...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chemo 22 - Final

Chemo 21
27 Nov 2011, Sunday - As the heading says, this is the final post I will do under the CHEMO heading and I hope to now start posting about cycling and other lekker things.
Since last Saturday when I posted nothing much or rather different happened except...
Shortly after posting last Saturday we had an attempted burglary at our house and the only thing that I was liberated of was my cell phone. It was quite an amateur job and most likely the work of my gardener that was retrenched a few months back. I think he was doing Christmas shopping. I have upped the security a bit and will spend some time in the coming week to get it even tighter.
On Friday morning I woke with a little bit of a sore throat and in the afternoon I had to go and pick up my lawnmower and passed close by the oncology hospital. I popped in and the Doc was quite worried. So I had to get a blood test on the spot, wait an hour for the results and then she wanted to admit me to hospital. My white blood cell count was seriously low. Eventually I convinced her I would be better off at home in real isolation than at hospital where the chances of picking up a serious bug is so much better. So they injected me with something similar to EPO, the banned-for-sportsmen red blood cell booster. This product stimulates and boosts the production of white blood cells. Together with this I was to monitor my temperature and take a course of super antibiotics. It is now Sunday Morning and although my throat is still sore, there were no rise in temperature and also no sign of the side effects of this booster injection. I managed to finish the layout of a collection of poems yesterday and in the afternoon we had a lovely braai and kuier with our good friends, Bennie and Hester. I plan to do as little as possible today and monitor my temperature, but I hope that by next weekend I will be feeling better and start a light cycling program.
In the mean time I got a new cell phone and tomorrow I must take it in to the service provider and see if I can get it sorted out. Maybe I will post an entry from the phone shortly just to see if it works...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chemo 21

Chemo 22
Chemo 20
19 Nov 2011, Saturday - Last week Wednesday was still much the same story with the recipe books, except that I spent the day in a very hot showroom at Océ, running the first print of the Dis Mos Kos book on one of their machines. Our printer apparently could not handle the type of paper that we wanted to print the books on, but it turned out to be an entirely different problem after all. If Océ pays me enough I will tell them what the problem is... I also popped into one of my favorite bike shops on my way back and came across a frame that was now seriously going out of fashion, brand new but a 2010 model and 2012 bikes are starting to dot the shop floors. So I made a deal that I could not refuse, and bought the frame.

By Thursday mid morning our own machine was running splendidly and I was waiting to hear from Robert and Machai from America who were busy cycling from Johannesburg to our place. I am glad I did not offer to cycle with them. Not only did they choose to cycle the second busiest road in the whole of SA, but they also chose the warmest day of a very warm heatwave that hit SA. I had some errands to run and my route coincided with theirs, so it was a very relieved Machai that loaded her bike and luggage into the Pajero and enjoyed the little bit of relieve that the air conditioner was able to bring. We had a splendid time with them and took them for a trip to the most Afrikaans of Afrikaner symbols in SA, the Voortrekkermonument, as well as entertained them with another very Afrikaans tradition, the Braaivleis (Barbeque).

Their plan was to leave here early on Monday morning and by 13h30 they got going on their way to Cullinan. I booked into Oncology long before then for my sixth chemo session. This was a predictable affair except that the nurse battled with her aim and had to try 4 times to get the drip needle into my vein and not into the tissue next to it. By Tuesday evening 22:00 I was back at home and starting to feel very groggy, like a hang over without the prelude of pleasure... This was much the case for Wednesday and Thursday, but yesterday morning I felt better and wanted to spend some time in the office, but we had a hint of a thunderstorm on Thursday evening and was without electricity for most of the morning. So I used the time to work on the new frame and by yesterday afternoon I had a 95% complete bike. 2 small problems reared their ugly little heads. The front derailleur dos not fit on the new frame. This I will fix this morning by buying the correct one. The second snag is that the distance between the back wheel and the bottom bracket is slightly longer so the chain is very marginal on the big-big combination. Since that is one combination that one hardly ever uses and should never use, that is something I will live with for this chain cassette combination. When I replace the chain I will be able to cut the new chain to the correct length.

The hint of "Kindel" 1838
The Pretty One, Machai and Robert (Bob) at the Voortrekkermonument
Me in hospital getting chemo
The new steed nearing completion

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chemo 20

Chemo 21
Chemo 19
8 Nov 2011, Tuesday - It's been a while since I could even think of writing a blog entry or doing anything else but WORK. We are busy with 2 new recipe books and the one book 'Dis Mos Kos' or translated 'It's real food'. It is quite a job to put a book like this together and then there is a deadline and then the clients keep on changing their minds about the layout. This meant I worked Saturday and Sunday to try and get it completed before yesterday morning. I went to hospital yesterday early for my 6th and last chemo treatment, only to be sent back because my white blood cell count is way to low to get chemo. So I will have to go back on Monday 14th. This is a bummer. It means I can start training a week later, so I will be a week "unfitter" (the spell checker is screaming about this one) when I want to do my first serious ride on 17 March 2012, but that is how it is.
In the mean time I am feeling great, so this week is really a GOOD week with no funny feelings. I am also looking forward to meet 2 cycling tourists from America that is currently riding through SA and want to spend a few nights with us from Wednesday. It will be good to know people in The States. I still have it in the back of my head to go and ride The Great Divide.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chemo 19

Chemo 20
Chemo 18
31 Oct 2011, Monday - Friday evening turned out to be very quiet on the home front with just me and The Pretty One at home, so I planned to watch the cricket game between SA and Australia, but then rain interfered. They played, but our electricity went out early and only came back on after 24:00. Saturday morning I planned to do some work in the office and then start my bike rebuilds, but again we had no electricity so we went to chortle with The Pretty One's family and had a splendid time. Sunday we slept late a bit and then The Pretty One said that we must quickly install the door between two of the flats in our house. My daughter Andy helped but it still took me the whole day and by last night 19:00 I was knackered and in bed. Doing a job like this makes me realize how much the Chemo takes out of your strength and stamina. I have 7 more good days before my last chemo session, then I can start to recover and get fit and strong... I am so looking forward to that.
The Door

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chemo 18

Chemo 19
Chemo 17
If not cycling even 1 km can be called normal, then this was a pretty normal week. The bulk of my daylight time was taken up by a recipe book of about 300 pages that I am busy doing the layout of. On Wednesday Afternoon I went to see the Dr that did the original Cancer op in 2008 and that has been looking after me ever since. He is of the opinion that as long as the tumors is not getting bigger and I have no discomfort from them, we don't cut. So we will keep a close look at them. On Thursday evening me and The Pretty One went to see the Smurfs movie in 3D nogal. If you have not believed that they are real, go see the movie in 3D and you will know they are real and living in an enchanted forest somewhere. It can even be in the Wolkberg mountains.

The Smurfs might live in here somewhere,

...or they might lurk in here. Come along next time I ride here and we search for them
I am feeling pretty good and might spend some time this weekend getting my bikes ready for the training assault that awaits them end of November...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chemo 17

Chemo 18
Chemo 16
24 Oct, Monday - Where was I? Wednesday's cricket match rained out and then ended wrong, but fortunately I was feeling too groggy to worry. Thursday I felt better than Wednesday but not as good as I was hoping to feel on Friday, and so it went for the weekend. Every day a little better.

We left on Saturday morning to go to the yearly Exploration Society Formal Dinner. The difference is that it is never inside (except if it is inside a cave), but normally rather on top of a mountain in the real deep bundus. This year we had it in the deep Magalies Mountains next to a very small stream with a lovely little pond. You needed a 4x4 to get there, so we ferried the members with normal cars to the camping site. It all went splendid thanks to Paul, our very capable chairman. The afternoon was spent by all and sundry lazying around a small patch of water. Some of the intrepid explorers even took some time to do a bit of rolling training in their kayaks. Then we donned our very beautiful formal best, readied the tables with our finest china and crystal and had a jol.

Sunday morning saw most of the late survivors waking very slowly and nibbling at some of the cheese and biscuits remaining from the previous evening. After another lazy session next to the pond we starting cleaning up and ferrying the explorers back down the mountain. A splendid weekend indeed.

Today life is pretty much back to normal: The digestive system seem to be back to it's regular self and the out-of-breathness (the spell checker is complaining about this one, wants it to be breathlessness) is very real.
Walking a bit and resting a lot - from shade to shade

Intrepid explorers doing nothing

Lewis demonstrating how not to drown when you end up wrong side up

The Chefs hard at work

Everybody look real smart. The ladies do battle with their highheelsindabush

The Pretty One and a Bald Me as formal as it gets

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chemo 16

Chemo 17
Chemo 15

19 Oct 11, Wed - All the plans I had for riding this past weekend came to nothing. It is difficult to motivate yourself to ride your bike when you know that in 2 days time you are going to feel like a dead dog. So on both Saturday and Sunday mornings we just stayed in bed a little longer until the urge to jump up and go riding actually went away. On Saturday evening we had my 35 year reunion of the class of 76. Man but was that a lot of old people gathered together. I was amazed actually to see how well some of the guys and girls did age. Sunday I jumped into some books and spent the day mainly reading. Monday morning early I went to hospital and the process of "feeding" me my "cocktail" started. It went reasonably well and today I am feeling groggy, but I have felt worse.Fortunately there is a cricket game on so I have something to do while parked on the lounge suite.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chemo 15

Chemo 16
Chemo 14
11 Oct 11, Tuesday - During my eye test on Thursday last week the Optometrist said it looks like I have an infection in my eye lids. Had it checked out and it was indeed Blepharitis. According to wikipedia "is an ocular condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the eyelid, the severity and time course of which can vary. Onset can be acute, resolving without treatment within 2–4 weeks (this can be greatly reduced with lid hygiene), but more generally is a long standing inflammation varying in severity." I got some drops and we will see if it helps. The downside is that my eyes became very sensitive to wind and that has kept me of the bike for a few days. Friday and Saturday I did very little. Sunday we went for a kuier and a Braai at The Pretty One's Father in Law & Wife and was joined by his son Rudolf and his family.

Yesterday was a "normal" day and I did quit a lot of deliveries and collections. I hope to see the Radiologist today to do a MRI scan and compare the tumors to see what effect the chemo has. Tomorrow I see the Oncologist...

14 Oct 11, Fri - I went early on Wednesday morning for a scan and the tumor that we use as control to measure the effect of the chemo was unchanged. The fact that it is not shrinking is not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that the chemo is containing the tumor is apparently already a good sign. But it does not sound like I will be rid of the cancer in a hurry.

Since my white blood count was just below the limit for chemo the 5th chemo session is postponed till Monday. This means that I can go to my class of 1976 Grade 12 reunion tomorrow night without feeling like a dead dog. Maybe I will even go for a ride tomorrow morning with The Pretty One since the infection in my eyes seem to have reacted to the drops.

In the mean time their are 2 new products on the market in America that the Oncologist will try and import if the prices is not exorbitant and the authorities agrees to it. It is by no means "wonder" products, but it might contain the tumors for longer with less (hopefully) side effects.

By 20 November I should be finished with my 6 sessions of chemo for this round and then I can start some serious training again and get strong and fit. It seem that I will have to ride the big rides ASAP. I do not know how much time this cancer is going to give me, so I must use the time I've got to the full...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Important dates for 2012

Newsletter 2

I am halfway through my chemo treatment and will know early next week what the next 12 weeks will look like. That brings us to December, then it will be time to get this old body into serious shape again.

In the mean time it is a good idea to diarise some dates for two very nice mountain bike trips. For both of these you will only need 4 days leave. The plan is to have support vehicles meet us from time to time so we can ride light. Both will include luxury catered accommodation as well as the odd night of camping / self catering. For both trips you will need a good level of fitness, but there are always the option to ride the more scenic section on your bike and then jump on the support vehicle for the rest. The idea is to enjoy the trip, not break yourself.

The first trip/tour:

I call it the Freedom Trail Lite Tour and will basically be the first four day of the Freedom Challenge to be toured over 7 days. Distances will be in the order of 50-60km per day with limited hike-a-bike sections. The preliminary dates:

31-Mar-12 Drive to PMB
01-Apr-12 PMB - Byrne 52km
02-Apr-12 Byrne - Allandale 52km
03-Apr-12 Allandale - Centacow 48km
04-Apr-12 Centacow - Ntsikeni 55km
05-Apr-12 Ntsikeni - Banchory 36km
06-Apr-12 Banchory - Masakala 57km
07-Apr-12 Masakala - Malekholonyane 55km
08-Apr-12 Drive Home
09-Apr-12 Unpack, chill, normalise

The second trip/tour:
This will be a Venda Land Tour. This will again be the first four days of the Beit2Cape trail toured over 8 days. There will also be easier and tougher bits in each day, so expect to push your bike a little bit. But that is OK. Part of mountain biking. But I will try and keep it to a minimum.

27-Apr-12 Drive to Musina
28-Apr-12 Beit - Tsipise 87km
29-Apr-12 Tsipise - Mangwele 48km
30-Apr-12 Mangwele - Kliphuis 48km
01-May-12 Kliphuis - Madyisa 48km
02-May-12 Madyisa - Blue Hills 73km
03-May-12 Blue Hills - Haenertsburg 55km
04-May-12 Haenertsburg - Wolkberg 46km
05-May-12 Wolkberg - Makhutsi 66km
06-May-12 Back Home

So now it is time to start planning, training, dreaming and drooling...

Chemo 14

Chemo 15
Chemo 13

6 Oct 11, Thu - Tuesday was a normal day with normal things happening and after fiddling more with the shelving system The Pretty One joined me on the tandem for a ride in the afternoon. Yesterday I spent most of the day on the road delivering stuff as well as a longish session with the website guys for our printing business (I will post a link as soon as it goes live). Also went for an eye test as it is 2 years since the last one. After all that I was in no mood for cycling, so I took it easy.
The shelves getting packed full of stuff

The back and front halves attached to each other

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chemo 13

Chemo 14
Chemo 12
4 Oct 2011, Tue - My white blood cell count was very low on Friday but not low enough to do anything medical about it, so I must just be careful who I kiss... On Saturday morning The Pretty One rose early enough for us to take the Tandem for a 34km ride. We had a lekker kuier Saturday evening with my good friend Anton who turned 60. In between all that I kept myself busy with resting and doing some more work on the shelf system in the garage. Sunday we slept late and then went to church. After that we had a glorious braai with a gaggle of The Pretty One's Cousins. Yesterday I went for another ride but on my own it is now going seriously slow. I have a spot that I use to time a certain portion of my ride. Very fit it takes 16 minutes, Fit it takes 18 minutes and the normal time for The Pretty One is 20 minutes. Yesterday it took me nearly 30 minutes... In the mean time I am still fiddling with the shelves.
The back half was built on the wall
The front half was built on the floor
The front half must now be attached to the back half. 2m high by 6m long

Monday, September 26, 2011

chemo 12

Chemo 13
Chemo 11
27 Sep, Tue - Last week Tuesday was the last "normal" day and on Wednesday morning I left early for Wilgers Hospital to draw blood for a white blood cell count. The count was good and chemo was started. The pattern is predictable. Wednesday I am OK. Thursday I start to feel groggy and by Thursday evening the foul taste and smell is back and.the funny feeling on the tummy area is starting to become more pronounced. The Pretty One fetched me and we were home before 22:00. Friday I was very groggy and spent the day in front of DSTV on the couch. Saturday morning I took things easy and by 15:00 I was feeling better. My daughter turned 25 on Sunday and they had a big party planned for Saturday evening. So we were kindly requested to evacuate so that the next generation could do there thing. We went to a friend (Johan Barkhuizen) and had a great kuier and slept over at his place. After a very substantial breakfast we braved the return to home to see how big the damage was. It was actually not as bad as anticipated. Yesterday I gave birth (the constipation is also by now a standard symptom) and by last night a bit of normality returned to the digestive track. I hope to start riding again tonight.
30 Sep, Fri - Another month is done and dusted. Time really flies when you have lots to do. On Tuesday afternoon we went for a short ride. Wednesday was somehow filled with delivering stuff all over. I even took a drive out to Hartebeespoortdam on the far western side of Pretoria. I arrived back in time for a ride, but could not tear The Pretty One away from her desk and promptly got some urgent design work to do. So the ride never happened. Thursday I started building a new shelve system in my workshop and by 16:00 I was in no condition to get on a mountain bike and ride. I was in a couch hugging condition. I will leave shortly to draw blood for a white blood cell count. If it is too low then it becomes easy to pick up all sorts of infections.
The clean wall
The back of the shelves taking shape

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chemo 11

Chemo 12
Chemo 10
12 Sep 2011, Mon - Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go... So does another week start. The Pretty One is pretty motivated to shake off the winter fluff and we went for a ride in the afternoon. Did nearly 30km's, slowly, but it was good. The shoulder is OK, the tiredness is not unbearable as long as I sit in the office behind a computer, so this week is a good week. If all goes well then we start session 4 next week Tuesday, and so the cycle repeats. In the mean time I will ride my bicycle and enjoy the good days double.
13, 14 Sep, Tue, Wed - Tuesday was a quiet day with no complains. Wednesday I did a quick delivery trip and in the afternoon me and The Pretty One went for a slow ride on the mountain bikes. I managed 26km in just about 2 hours. This is not slow, it is painfully slow - but I am riding and the shoulder is feeling quite reasonable. When I started Chemo I weighed 84kg, and now I am struggling to keep the weight under 88kg. So fortunately in the eating department all goes well.
19 Sep, Monday - On Thursday it was life as usual with no complains, Friday afternoon I went for a windy but flat 30km ride and Saturday morning The Pretty One joined me for a slow and hilly 25km ride through the Buffelsdrift smallholdings. Yesterday we slept late and in the afternoon we had a lovely braai at Abrie and Petro, The Pretty One's oldest brother and his wife. TODAY is significant as it is my sister's 51st birthday, but it is also my 3rd anniversary of discovering cancer. I saw 3 doctors that day in quick succession and they all got big eyes and said something like: "Mmm... this does not look good..." Now it is three years later and I am still here and fighting. I must go and draw some blood just now to see if the red and white blood cells are enough for another bout of chemo starting tomorrow. This afternoon I will go for another ride and then I will see if I feel like riding again by about Saturday or Sunday. Time to go...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chemo 10

Chemo 11
Chemo 9
6 Sep 2011, Tues - Back in front of the plough, but the day turned out fine. I did not get around to do a cycle, but I got a lot of other chores done!
7 Sep 2011, Wed - We had a restless night with the cats discovering bugs. They then jump on the windowsill and in doing so they trigger the alarm. This actually means that spring has sprung and it is time to get down to some serious cycling to get rid of all this winter fluff around the mid section... I am also tasked with the job of getting the garage cleaned out so that The Pretty One's Daughter can use it to have a 25th birthday party in there. I will post before and after photos. My shoulder is not well, so I will keep an eye on that one as well.
8 Sep 2011, Thu - My baby is turning 23 today. How time flies! I started feeling progressively worse through the day and by 13:00 I was down and out. Fever, no sore throat or any other flew symptoms, just fever. I had a restless night with bouts of heavy sweating and freezing, all while lying under the thick winter duvet.
9 Sep 2011, Fri - I got up feeling a bit better, but it is now 10:30 and I think it is time to hit the couch and snuggle up under a blankie. The garage is only receiving only brain attention for now.
10 Sep 2011, Sat - I had a good rest yesterday and woke up feeling a lot better. In fact, I felt so good I went for a short cycle with The Pretty One. We did about 23km at a very slow pace. The pace was sos slow that She actually rode ahead on all the slight inclines and then turned around on top and came back down to come and fetch me. I was really tired after all that and took a good rest the rest of the day.
11 Sep 2011, Sun - A quiet night and a late snooze later I was suddenly in the dust and dirt of seven years of garage stuff that needed sorting and putting away. It happened so fast I did not even have a chance to take a photo! But a few hours later we had most of the useful stuff packed in crates and the rest bagged and ready for a waste removal effort of sorts. The Pretty One know of a guy with a small truck that does this sort of thing so we will get him to come and remove all the junk. This was a very tiring experience, but fortunately by 13:30 we were just about done and I could retire to the comfort of the lounge and watch some F1. The shoulder is not doing to badly and I can live with it for now. The digestive system seem to be back to normal

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chemo 9

chemo 10
chemo 8
29 Aug, Mon - We had a lovely kuier yesterday with Kevin and Vanessa, and the food channel really made a good kook out of Kevin.. Today passed without much excitement, but the blood test was good and I will get round 3 of chemo tomorrow.
30,31 Aug, Tue, Wed - Did a quick tour in the office and by 08:00 I was on my way to Wilgers Oncology. At Wilgers it was the normal drill and by 22:00 on Wednesday I was home.
1 Sep 2011, Thu - Woke up with the usual groggy feeling. I had some herbal tea last night and this morning that is supposed to help against the constipation, and it seem to have worked for now. Actually, later in the day it seems to be working too good. I started feeling very groggy and by 11:00 I was lying flat in front of the Travel Channel. Then the diarrhea came. But by 19:00 I started feeling a little better and actually was hungry before I went to bed and had some stir fry and a cheese sandwich.
2 Sep, Fri - Woke up this morning feeling a LOT better than yesterday. I will see what my digestive system thinks of today, but the rest feels decent. We are driving down to Empangeni to visit my Sister and My dad and Tannie Minnie will be going along. Looking forward to the weekend...
5 Sep 2011, Fri-Mon - We had a good uneventful drive to Empangeni and arrived 18:30. Shortly after arriving Tannie Minnie's nose started bleeding uncontrollably and a quick visit to the emergency ward sorted that out. On Saturday morning me and Swarrie fiddled with bits of steel and started building a new security gate, as the old one is busy disintegrating with rust. Saturday afternoon we made a potjie (lamb stew) and over indulged good and well. Sunday morning me and Swarry went for a nice 25km ride and my lack of fitness as well as my low red blood cell count made for a slow meander amongst the sugar canes of Monzi, near St Lucia. But I enjoyed the ride and the shoulder was fine, so I guess I will have to give regular riding another try. We had a late afternoon braai and Joyce and Sachrys came to visit and we had a thorough chortle. We left Empangeni this morning at 06:08 and had an easy drive back to Pretoria. After Thursday's quick bout of diarrhea nothing happened on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and eventually this afternoon (Monday) I gave birth. Or at least, that is how it felt. So now I should be OK for the next 2 weeks. The shoulder is OK as well, so tomorrow I will give the training program a go and see.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chemo 8

chemo 9
Chemo 7
23 Aug 2011, Tue - I had a half night's sleep, as 2 of the 3 alarms triggered in short succession at 01h00. The security vehicle arrived eventually but could see nothing wrong. That was that as far as sleep was concerned, so tonight I might have a good rest... It is my mother's birthday today, 70something and going strong. Arriving at Wilgers Oncology this morning it turned out that my white blood cell count is very low and my chemo is postponed for a week. The Oncologist can not shed any light on my sore shoulder, so I am just going to ignore it from now on. Today is a really windy day, as the days should traditionally be around here in August.
24 Aug 2011, Wed - The alarm blues continued and ignoring my shoulder seem to work. I spent the day breaking into my daughter's car (keys locked inside), expanding the alarm system and rigging up a camera borrowed from a game farmer friend so that I can see what is triggering the alarm system.
25 Aug 2011, Thu - Turned out that the alarm system is a bit sensitive. At 01:30 a rabbit triggered it and at 03:17 a big black dog was the culprit. Now I must hunt for a way to eliminate dogs and rabbits, but include anything bigger... I also woke with my shoulder much worse than it's been for a while. Might be all the activity from yesterday, climbing up and down precariously balanced ladders and such stuff.
26-28 Aug 2011, Fri-Sun - I went to see Dr Frantzen on Friday and the basic diagnose about my shoulder is the same. He did however gave me an injection in the shoulder so if the pain does not subside by Monday/Tuesday we know it is referred, else it might just be some inflammation or something? A big part of my energy over the weekend went into making sure the security system works 100%, but I am sure it will always be possible to breach it. If criminals would spend half the effort they spend on criminal acts on hard work they would all be much better off. Everything they stole last weekend does add up to about R15000 to replace, but I doubt the guy doing the actual stealing gets more that R1000 or even R500.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chemo 7

Chemo 6
15 Aug, Mon - We had a very lekker kuier yesterday with Johan and Anlie, friends from school days (How long ago is that...). I feel good apart from the shoulder... I will see the heart & lung specialist tomorrow and maybe he can shed some light on the strange pain. Right now it seem as if a very early summer storm with thunder & all is going to hit us.

16 Aug, Tue - Same old, same old... The Doc that operated on the tumor on my aorta cannot shed any light on the shoulder and referred me back to the Orthopedic Surgeon who fixed my collar bone in May 2008. I had a nasty fall and broke my collar bone 6 weeks before departing on my 2008 Freedom Challenge.

17 Aug, Wed - A normal day with normal pain in the shoulder. The Orthopedic surgeon (Anré Peach) said he wished  his neck and bones were in as good a condition as mine, so it is definitely not my neck or shoulder... So we are back at my diaphragm or maybe my lung... Lets throw this curve ball at oncology and see what they come up with this time? I think I must make as if nothing is wrong and just carry on as normal. Ride my bike and work a bit...

18 Aug - 22 Aug - Apart from the "normal"things that happen every day we had a very strange robbery on Friday night. Without going into all the gory, boring detail I can just report that we were not harmed, in fact, we were quite unaware, but that it was an "inside" job by one of the workers is obvious. The power tools that disappeared was only the working ones that was neatly picked out off the shelve in between the broken ones! There were a number of other tel tale signs as well. On Saturday we had a glorious kuier and a great potjie with Annelie and Christo, and a very relaxed Sunday. I went for the scan on Monday and the news neither good nor bad... The tumor is not bigger, but also not any smaller. So tomorrow I will hear what my Oncologist says.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chemo 6

Chemo 7
Chemo 5
6 Aug, Sat - We slept late and then had a leisurely morning before we went to Joburg to my Boet's place for an afternoon of over-indulgence. Ate way too much, and that on top of the constipation problem... But for the rest my shoulder is still bothering me but fortunately there is no nausea

7 Aug, Sun - Another late morning with The Pretty One and then a glorious kuier with Bennie and Hester.

8 Aug, Mon - Finally... I had a normal sit-down in the "small" room. Now it is just my shoulder that bothers me. I will give it another couple of days and then make a decision. I will have to get back on to the bike pretty soon. I am really feeling very unfit and heavy, and need to do some exercise. My blood's hemoglobin levels will be lower, so training will get my heart rate up quickly, so I will have to be careful with my heart.

9 Aug, Tue - I had a bad night as my shoulder was hurting and uncomfortable. But today is a new day and a public holiday for some reason. So I changed a leaking ball valve in our toilet and did some chores in the office. I expect a few old squash friends over later for a few beers and a "braai".

10 Aug, Wed - We had a real lekker chortle yesterday and life was good... We went to bed about 21h30 and by 23h30 I woke with a really sore shoulder. By 0h30 I was sitting upright in a Comfortable chair in front of the TV and took some tramacet for the pain.That started knocking me out by about 01h30 and I eventually got some sleep after that. I woke this morning feeling very groggy but now (10h50) I am starting to feel like a human with a sore shoulder again. I am stopping the cerebrex anti inflammatory for a few days to see if it makes any difference. I think the recent heartburn attacks might come from that.

11 Aug, Thur - Apart from a sore shoulder I feel quite normal. I stopped the Cerebrex and will monitor if the shoulder is worse.

12 Aug, Fri - I started the cerebrex again last night as the shoulder started getting unbearable. Had a fairly decent sleep from about 23h30 but woke with a sore shoulder. Another cerebrex early with some musely and the shoulder is back to just a vague pain that flares up when I do not sit. Standing and lying down seem to work against my comfort level. I am scared to get on the bike, but it is something I would want to do pretty soon...

13 Aug, Sat - I had a bad night as far as sleep goes. If it wasn't for the sore shoulder it would have been a perfect day for cycling, but I spent the day very easy on my bum in front of the TV. We did buy some groceries for the week and tomorrow I expect friends over.

14 Aug, Sun - Another night of little sleep, but my friends arrived and I will throw an eisbein and a chicken on the Weber...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chemo 5

Chemo 6
Chemo 4
1 Aug, Monday - The shoulder is still hurting, my hair is falling out in droves and tomorrow I go back to hospital for round no 2.

2 Aug, Tuesday - I did some early chores and went to Wilgers. Got there just after 08h30. They drew some blood for tests and the results were very slow to come back, so the chemo started late, which means I will finish late and might have to sleep over another night. I saw the doc a little later and she gave me Cerebrex for the pain. It might be a lung problem/inflammation that causes my shoulder to hurt? I did not sleep well and the usual hospital drill to wake you at 02h00 to take your blood pressure did not help much.

3 Aug, Wed - The hours passed slowly but I had a number of visitors. Willie, Davida, Alta and her mother Roeline, Anlie and of course The Pretty One. By 23h00 the last poison was in my body and we were home by 00h00.

4 Aug, Thur - Got up and had a haircut, as there was not much left and it looked really bad, Went to the office bravely but felt very groggy soon and that did not ease up until I eventually went to bed. I tried to "kuier" a bit with the family, but I was not good company. The shoulder is not much better, but it is liveable, so let's hope for the best.

5 Aug, Fri - I feel better than yesterday and are actually hungry. I feel quite bloated and it seem that an immediate reaction to the chemo is this constipation afterwards. I will get some dried fruit and see if that helps the system along a bit.
No beard for the first time in 30 years!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chemo 4

Chemo 5
Chemo 3
25 July, Monday -  Another normal day, well how can a day be normal now that "Le Tour" is done and dusted? I went for a leisurely ride in the afternoon and one thing is certain... the legs are seriously lazy. 42km further I really knew I did some cycling, so now it will be a careful process to get some distance in the legs and some fitness in the lungs without my heart knowing about it. The chemo can have a negative on the heart muscle, so I will have to take it "easy". When I asked the Oncologist (a very trustworthy and nice man) what is "take it easy" he said I must not try and get fitter. I can hardly get un-fitter at this stage, so I will just stick to mid zone 3 for now.

26 July, Tuesday - A very "normal" day with nothing to report but that in itself is something to be very grateful of. I did wake up with a sore shoulder/neck, but that was most likely from sleeping too well and should be better in a day or two. I started a light "strength" training program as well and I hope to get some strength in the legs. Since I stopped playing squash in 2008 I have done no impact or strength training and I think this is part of the problem of being very slow while carrying my bike.

27 July, Wednesday - The shoulder is quite sore and kept me off the bike. Otherwise a normal day.

28 July, Thursday - I managed a short ride that was without discomfort from th shoulder, but it is not getting better. The pain comes and goes and is quite intense at times. I think I will get some Neck and shoulder X-rays tomorrow.

29 July, Friday - Went for X-rays and there is nothing wrong with either my neck or my shoulder. The Radiologist recons it can be from the radiation I had on my aorta/lung earlier in the year. It is called a referred pain. I will speak to the Oncologist on Tuesday when I am due for my second session of Chemo.

30 July, Saturday - Me and The Pretty One visited the local Church Bazaar (fete) and saw some old friends. I did not enjoy it very much since I was in a great deal of pain and discomfort. Sitting in a certain position seem to ease the pain, so that is what I am doing. Just sitting... We did try to go for a ride since I managed a ride on Thursday that was pain free, but I had to call it a day after 30 minutes as the pain was severe even on the bike.

31 July, Sunday - After speaking to Elbie (my sister) last night I did some research on Internet about referred pain. Very little (actually nothing) is known about the mechanism and a view theories exist but the shoulder pain can come from the lung, heart, liver, spleen or diaphragm. The radiation caused fibrosis in the lung, so that is a possibility. The tumor on my aorta that was radiated will also be shrinking and can hurt the aorta and the new tumor just below the diaphragm can be reacting to the chemo and be shrinking, causing pain to the diaphragm and that refers to the shoulder. That is what I could find on the internet. Let's see what the Docs say...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chemo 3

25 July
14 July
19 July, Tuesday - I woke with a sore throat and spent the day feeling very sorry for myself. I have no nausea or other symptoms and the constipation is sorted out and that department is functioning like clockwork. So as long as the nausea stays away and the flew/cold blows over I should feel like normal and not like a cancer patient.

20 July, Wednesday - The sore throat is better and I don't feel flew like, so I hope I will feel like a ride a little later. Otherwise I feel no effects of the chemo at this stage.

21 July, Thursday - Still had a little bit of flew like symptoms so I spent most of the day in the office and watched  TDF in the afternoon. Otherwise I feel normal.

22-24 July, Fri-Sun - Nothing really happened out of the normal, except that I eat too much and don't train, so my belly is growing and the big laziness hangs over me. I think Monday will be a good day to change all that.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chemo 2

19 July
11 July
14 July, Thursday - I had a very good night and slept like a rock. Waking up I started feeling a bit groggy but had some tea and started doing stuff in the office. Soon I was having a conversation with the big white ear and took a Clopamon tablet. This is an anti-nausea tablet. It seem to be working and I had some toast and yoghurt recently which I am holding down for now.
15 July, Friday - The rest of yesterday went quite well so it seem that the Clopamon tablets is working. Could eat normally, but the wine last night did not have it's usual appeal. I have a constant bad taste in my mouth, but otherwise I feel OK. When I woke this morning I felt good until I changed the horisontal to the vertical, but took a Clopamon and soon I was looking forward to the day. Might even go for a little bike ride a little later.
16/17 July, Saturday/Sunday -  I did go for a leisurely ride on Friday. Me and The Pretty One went book browsing in the mall and had something to eat. Felt a bit tired after that and went straight home. I relaxed on Sat morning in front of the Tour de France highlights. Sat afternoon we visited the Kirsten brothers that just finished their Freedom Challenge race. We slept at my Brother's place and had a visit with The Pretty One's family on Sunday. Through all of this I was feeling 85-95% coming and going and I suppose that is much better than expected.
18 July, Monday - Woke up early and went to the office. I fiddled with a problem and did some computer work, then I did a delivery or 3 and took a very gentle ride in the afternoon. I did not take an anti nausea pill today. I did not need it and I am wondering if this pills can cause constipation. I am also eating more dried fruit and fibrous stuff, so I hope this will help.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chemo Therapy

14 July
11 July - in the last 2 weeks nothing much happened and life went on as normal. I saw two doctors the last 2 fridays and tomorrow I start with chemo therapy. If after 42 days the tumor is not any smaller I will probably have an operation to have it removed. That is the tumor in my right abdomen. So this is new uncharted territory, and I will log it here as I go along.

12/13 July, Tuesday/Wednesday - went to oncology early and had to wait a bit, but soon I was seated in a comfortable "lazy-boy" chair. Some blood was taken for analysis and then the drips was starting to come. Each patient gets his/her own concoction of drugs and my cocktail included some brightly colored ones. One of the drugs need to be administered over a 24 hour period and another over an 8 hour period, so I had to sleep over. I do not know what these hospitals charge for because paying R2500 per night and all I do is occupy a bed and get three simple meals doesn't come close. There is NO DSTV, so it must be the rental of the drip measuring/controlling instrument that is VERY expensive. I finished with all of this on Wednesday evening 21h30 and just after 10 I was in my own bed and looking forward to a good nights sleep. So far no funny feeling in the system yet, but the next 14 days will be tough...
A very expensive drip machine
Some of my cocktail
The oncology room at Wilgers

Monday, June 20, 2011


It is tough to have to stop.

I was just not able to continue riding and walking was becoming near impossible, so I had to stop and get well. I got a lift from near Taylorville to Matatielle on Friday and then rode the short distance from Matatielle to Masakala. I started to rest and had a very restless night. On Saturday morning the leg was still very swollen and in no condition to ride a bike. The Pretty One arrived and we took a scenic drive to Rhodes. I met up with a few friends, had a lovely supper and on Sunday we planned to follow some of the route from Rhodes. In the mean time Alex Harris developed mechanical issues with his bike and we took some parts through to a support station as well.

We arrived home (Pretoria) just after midnight and I have spent yesterday and today (Mon & Tues) in bed with my leg elevated to drain the lymph. It is draining well and should be OK by tomorrow.

Priorities now will be:
  • Get the cancer sorted out.
  • Find out what the radiation did to my lungs and what my capacity and capabilities will be now.
  • Get strong and fit.
  • Dream on...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Banchory and beyond

"I plan to leave Banchory by 8 and head for Masakala. My leg does not look to good but is not sore. I will have to listen to my body and will only ride accordingly which might not be very fast. Therefore I will take it day by day. The next overnight stops, Masakala, Malekholonyane and Vuvu do not have facilities for charging batteries and I will unfortunately not send my voicemails and pictures frequently."

Ntsikeni (May Lodge) to Banchory 16 June 2011

May Lodge
"Last night we had great vegetable soup but the rest was not much. Sleeping in bunk beds and I had to sleep at the top and could not lift the bed as usual to drain my leg. However the time resting in bed drained it well enough."
Politiquekraal. Slow going.
"Left late this morning and will just be riding halfday to Banckory. My battery if flat my body tired and my feet hurt due to all the walking yesterday. At 9 I am going through the Ntsikeni bush and then  should reach  the jeeptrack."
"Not much of a jeeptrack - te first couple of hours today was just a fight againt long grass marsh and that is not cycling. Thereafter the wind from the front made me cycle downhill. I arrived at Banchory just after 2 extremely tired. I will have to decide tomorrow what my body will allow me to do."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Allandale to Ntsikeni 15 June 2011

 "Left at about 3.30  but battled to get out due to electric fences - I only had McKenzie's narratives and the  direction but will find my way.  Arriving last night at 8 and after dinner hit the bed. I have a lunchpack and then next stop will be Centacow. Mission. The cattle track bit difficult to ride this time of the morning."
Mudd at Allandale
"Beautiful with the mist on the dam. Not too cold with little frost on the road and just a slight breeze. I am dressed with a Tshirt from my box, 1 thermal, windbreaker, pressure stocking, long riding pants, normal buff, riding gloves and fleece gloves over it."
"Arrived at Donnybrook before 7 - slow 3.5 hours for the 15km!"

Geelhout - one of many
Brutal gradients - pretty houses
" At 9 I stopped in the Donnybrook forest to fasten my shoes where previous riders has made the boo-boo to take the wrong turn to "Reeton?" away from Centacow . The boo-boo I made was to left my nice warm gloves next to the road! Maybe someone will see them?"  "11 and I have just Left Centacow walking up after having some sandwiches coke and coffee. Cycled 47km in 7h38 - including the stop. 50km to go."
"Its is 3 o'clock - 70km and already 11 hours on the road - average of 6km/hour. It is not the distance but the climbs that is so brutal and tuff on my body that make it a very hard day. Another 25km to go."
From there....
.... to there, go up forever

" Maybe should think about riding half a day tomorrow - just to Banchory. After resting well I can start early and then decide up to where I can ride. The Banchory - Masakala - Malekholonyane route I have done before on my Lesotho trip, but then I was much fitter! If This is the plan I can still be on target."
"At about 6 it was gettting dark and my batteries are seriously "gedaan". I have been too long on the road. Not strong and fit enough and will not be able to keep going at this tempo. Plan to only go to Banchory tomorrow and even if I am a day behind so be it."
Climb the ladder

Full moon

Looking back- Beitbridge to Pietermaritzburg

Not over yet
When I arrived at Table Mountain it was quite a relieve to see Ilette with the little rental car, but the ride was not over yet. Fortunately the last tar climb into Pietermaritzburg was safe because of the protection of the little rental and just after 13h00 I was sitting on a bench at Aintree Lodge having my last “padkos” from Christa (Christa’s  in Darlton). A perfectly boiled egg and a biltong and cheese sandwich.
 I rode 1054km and felt quite good. This has a lot to do with careful management of rest days as well as being forced off the bike 2 times whether by mechanical issues or the weather. Sure, there were sections that I did not ride, but that decision I had to make after day 4. It was quite important to me at that stage to not only connect the Beit2PMB part with the Freedom Challenge, but to actually revisit the Freedom Challenge Race across SA (FC-RASA).
Aintree Lodge
Orrie Barahwanath
Of the Northern leg that stands out for me is day 4 from Haenertsburg to Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve over the Iron Crown and through the Wolkberg Nature Reserve, following the Mohlapeate River and riding up Orrie Baragwanath Pass. This must rate as one of the top 5 days if not the best day of riding from Beit2Cape.The bit of riding I did in Swaziland was absolutely stunning, the riding through the Valley of 1000 Hills is amazing, so I think the route will work in the Spirit of the Freedom Challenge.  
 I enjoyed riding on my own, but I also cherish the riding with Joyce and riding with Steven and Paul during the first 4 days made me aware of the nature of riding in groups.
Valley of 1000 hills
It was amazing how the support from Elbie and Wouter came at the perfect time when my rain clothes failed me completely near Rorkes Drift. Me and the Pretty one did some shopping on Sunday and I now should be able to survive the rain and I hope to have enough clothes to keep me warm.
Apart from the failure of the bike’s rear axle on my Shimano XT rear wheel , the bike has not given me a single hassle and everything seem to be working 100%. I did bleed the back break as it started feeling soft after a very long downhill. I did not concentrate and most likely overheat the back break a bit. The oil then boils and some gas are trapped in the system. I have put new pads in on the back as a precaution and that was that!
I am looking forward to the ride down to Cape Town and I am not planning any heroics and finish in 25 days will be good enough for me. I will hang around here at Aintree and be at Pietermaritzburg Town hall tomorrow morning at 06h00.
Stay tuned

Pietermaritzburg to Alandale 14 June 2011

Time to go

"At 5h45 we are all waiting at the City Hall and waiting for David's speech and 6am. I know I will be riding at the back but that is also all right - will take it day by day."
PMB City Hall
"At 6h30 the sun is coming up slowly - not cloads. I am on the dirt road and my legs feel good but my lungs work hard. Minerva around the corner, the day in front of me and looking forward to cycling to the Cape."

Great weather
"Along the nature reserve I saw a large number of Blesbuck and Blouwildebeeste. Riding slowly but feeling great. Uphill all the way and average of 11km/hour. "
"Just after 8 the bad tar road behind me, it was very busy and not a nice ride at all. The guy in the coin security bakkie gave me a very suspicious look but trust he will just keep going!"
Eland op 'n paal

"The gravel road is very very busy, bakkies and trucks, must be close to 50, and very dusty. Fortunately not wet and muddy and raining as in 2008 when Louis and I rode it although then it was very quiet. Should be at the forest road by 9am."

Things called gates
Piekniek on the Umkomaas
"At 14h30 at the Umkomaas River. Unfortunately got a bump on my left leg against something I did not see and is getting stiff. It just will have to get better. Eat something and then tackle the bush to the bridge. Do not know how easy I will find it."
"  Hella Hella pass take some time. The river was too full to go through and the route go through the bushes and then back to the bridge to cross the river.  My leg I bumped on a rock is not too bad but it is still warm - hope it will not be too bad tomorrow. At 17h30 still another 2-3 hours to go so hope to be at Alandale at 8."
Last sun ... long day