I'm 42 years old, (was 39 when life went somewhat awry) with no history of illness, Ironman finisher who has been diagnosed with myeloma. Did not see this coming. This blog summarises my journey from unexpected diagnosis through the treatment path. My aim is to use myeloma as a catalyst for living a better, more fulfilling life and documenting the changes I am making in all aspects of my family and work commitments.

Kidneys, Cars and Canines

I had a few things planned this week which if they came off, would mean life chez McCleave would be a bit different come the weekend.

Luckily the good stuff came to pass but the joy that is myeloma still managed to stick its nose into proceedings and derail the week with a trip to A&E (which is where is am typing this right now)

So what’s been occurin’?

I’m in a bit of  holding pattern until the 15th when I get an update on whether doubling up the drugs dose has kicked off a reaction and the paraprotein has started to drop. Patience continues to be a virtue in which I am sadly lacking but my reaction to this round has felt different to the first so I’m hopeful something is going on in there.

This first week off chemo has been a bit tougher than round one if I’m honest. Felt more tired more often and carried a headache most days. Basically had a hangover without the fun part the night before. And my back has turned to jelly which is why I’m into hour 3 at the Countess awaiting blood tests and a scan.

I’ve felt achy the last couple of weeks but was still able to maintain a reasonably active lifestyle. (Don’t worry Mum, I’ve not been out on the bike !) Then I tried to get out of bed Tuesday and literally couldn’t get up. Rolled on both sides, pulled myself up onto the headboard, (punched a few things in frustration) but the pain in my lower back was brutal. And this has continued all week.

It’s given me a window of foresight into life as a 90 year old; I think I’ll be a pretty grumpy oap!

So it was against this backdrop of events that the McCleaves welcomed good news story no.1 into the fold; my mobility vehicle arrived!

4 litres of V6 equine loveliness cantered its way onto the driveway and with it’s automatic gearbox, will allow me to continue living an independent and fulfilling existence (which a physically demanding manual clearly would not) Thankyou Henry Ford. Given my back issues, the timing could not have been planned any better.

Hold your horses, (can you spot the theme?) nurse is telling me to go for X-Rays. Back in a tick…

Zapped. Waiting for the results now. (Anecdotally, since the pneumonia last year, I worked out I’ve had 7 X-rays, 2 CT scans, 1 PET CT scan and 8 doses of chemo. No wonder my kidneys and body in general are getting a bit grouchy!)

Which leads me onto surprise no.2.

Where the addition of a Ford  Mustang to the family was made under a banner of clear and sound decision making, my judgement was clearly impaired by the volume of meds I’ve been subjected to of late when a small furry object that wees on the kitchen floor (right in my path on the way to the kettle) landed at Barn 5.

Yes, Jenn badgered me for so long that at my weakest, I caved and we are now responsible for a black labrador puppy. Named Coco (pop) by Max and Seb,  I am lobbying to have it renamed to something like Brutus or Hercules (I can’t go out in public shouting “Coco, go fetch” or “heel Coco.” Seriously)

And Jenn and the boys didn’t have a clue! I’ve learnt I’m a remarkably good liar but it was a welcome surprise; tears were shed. (not just by me when the gravity of the situation hit home!)

That the puppy will grow into a lumbering great hound that will break stuff and leave mammoth deposits in the garden has been lost amid a sea of cooing over the tiny creature. Its not like its even that cute 😉

Nurse has returned and results are in. Kidneys look fine and bonus news is my lung, which was the catalyst for the investigation that led to the myeloma diagnosis, is healing! Finally a positive! So I have to go for an MRI scan next week to see why my back is giving up the ghost. I’ll keep you posted.

So that was the week that was. I got my horse, Jenn got her dog, my kidneys are still functioning and we find out in 8 days if the drugs are doing their job. And this time next week I’ll have had a guided tour of St James Park with Beardo and enjoyed a day watching the mighty Toon (hopefully) chalk up 3 points against Spurs.

I’m certainly not wishing the days away but whats not to like about that?!







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  1. Christine 7th August 2017

    Sorry to hear of your recent discomfort Pete but have enjoyed reading about the pluses in life!!! Thinking of and praying for you every day, with love, Christine and Tim xxxx love to all the familyxxxx

  2. Andy underdown 7th August 2017

    Glad to hear your finally getting some positives Pete.Thoughts are with you

    • Pete 10th August 2017 — Post author

      Cheers fella. Really good to hear from you. Next time I hit Whitby I’ll drop you a note. Eskdale school feels like a lifetime ago!

  3. JIM & SHEILA SMART 7th August 2017

    Hi Pete,
    Very humorous even in adversity…..
    Enjoyed reading the post and looking forward to ‘Blog 5’.
    Love from,
    The Smarties

  4. Cliff whitwell 7th August 2017

    Hi Peter. Keep going buddy, the treatment will soon be over. I had severe lower back pain when I was taking certain drugs (self injected, and for a needle-a-phobe, that was not easy, but you have to do, what you have to do) to boost my white cells (we’re zero at one point). Great to hear kidneys are alright. It is worrying that you spend all you life keeping away from all drugs, including paracetamol and then this. Worth it it the end.

    Keep independent and moving, though no ironman. Enjoy your new puppy Coco (oh dear, Brutus is a good solid name).

    Take care and all will be well.


  5. Enda 8th August 2017

    Coco! Coco? Nah – you’ll have to train the pup to use a pseudonym when out and about with you 😉

  6. Matt Harris 9th August 2017

    Hey Pete, missed you at the Coverdale BBQ this weekend – it rained obviously – so no volleyball, for possibly the first time ever.

    Enjoy the Toon this weekend and yes, that’s a terrible name for a proper dog 🙂

    Keep fighting mate and I’m jealous of the car.

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