Author Archive | Ian Robinson

2nd Post RT check-up

This week I had my 2nd check-up after the “zapping” last year. It is only about 2 months since the last check-up so I was surprised to get the appointment letter just before Christmas. Apparently the check-ups will be every 2 months for the rest of this year.

I got the same examination as I did last time. The doctor checked for lymph node swelling in my neck and abdomen. Nothing found. Blood was also taken to check for AFP and beta-HCG markers. I was told I would get a CT scan at the 18 months after surgery timescale. This will be about December of this year. I’m happy with this. I had pure seminoma with no indication of spread. No need to go though a CT scan and get another dose of x-rays at the present time if not needed!

So happy days 🙂 as far as I’m concerned.

The Soddit – A. R. R. R. Roberts

This, as the title and author name suggests, is a spoof on J.R.R. Tolkein’s book, The Hobbit.

I loved it. It is very funny. The story follows the journey of Bingo “sac” Grabbings as he is dragged off on an adventure, by Gandef the Wizard and 12 Welsh dwarfs, to the Only Mountain, inhabited by Smug the Dragon. Bingo’s travelling companions are very reluctant to discuss the reason for the journey…

The story Adam Roberts has spun in The Soddit does not follow the one in The Hobbit completely. This is good in my opinion. This is a very funny book and it’s a good story in its own right. It had me laughing out loud many, many times. You don’t need to have read Tolkien’s original in order to enjoy this book. Excellent stuff.

His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman

Just finished the 3rd volume of this. All I can say is I’m glad I’m finished it. If I hadn’t bought the whole thing at the same time from Amazon UK I probably wouldn’t have continued.

But since I’d bought them anyway I decided to finish. I agree completely with the views expressed in the books about religion, churches, the need for people to be nice to each other and the need to respect the environment. But as a story the series just didn’t grab me and draw me into the Universe Pullman creates. I’m sure that the philosophy outlined in the series will be new and enlightening to many people who read them. This can only be a good thing. The more people who think for themselves and judge the world based on reason and evidence, as opposed to on faith and dogma, the better.

For this reason I’m glad the books are a success and are selling very well. It’ll be a while however before I take them down from the bookcase to read for pleasure.

Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett

The best Discworld book so far?

After reading Terry Pratchett’s latest book (Monstrous Regiment) I decided to read “Thief of Time” (TOT). I bought TOT when it came out in hardback a while back but it has languished in my bookcase ever since. I read it this week. It’s brilliant. Possibly the best Discworld book IMHO. Deciding your favourite book from an author can only be done when all the books being compared have been out for a while, or have been read a few times. So it’ll be a few years before I can say that TOT is the best in the series, but currently I think it is.

Working simply

There are only 1440 minutes in every day. People in work environments such as offices, hospitals, schools etc., are being bombarded with an increasing amount of information. This information, in the form of e-mails, telephone calls, voice mails, industry publications etc., means that you can waste many of the 1440 minutes in a day sifting through information that is useless to you. So how do you survive this information overload?

Bill Jensen has a radical suggestion. Do less!! He suggests, for example, that you can delete 75% of your e-mails unread after a quick subject scan. There are several documents you can download from his web site that outline how to do more by working simply. He also has a few books on the subject.

First post RT check-up

Had my first 3 month post radio therapy check-up yesterday. The doctor examined my abdomen and neck checking for lymph node swelling. Nothing strange to report. Blood was also taken to check for AFP and beta-HCG markers. No x-ray or CT was ordered. I had lots of x-rays taken during the RT and they were all clear. I expect the blood tests to be normal as well.
So that’s that done until February 2004 🙂
I actually feel really well. I was in New York and Toronto last week on holiday and walked about a million miles! Had loads of really good food and still lost weight 🙂 I’m down to my cricket bowling weight again! Walking is really, really good exercise. Much better than that gym nonsense 😉

After the zapping

My zapping (or radio therapy as the medical staff insist on calling it) finished on 5th August. It’s been a month since I finished my treatment for TC so here is an update on how it went.
Over the three weeks of the treatment it was similar to the description given in the previous entry. There was mild nausea a few hours after the sessions. some days this was worse than others and it got slightly worse towards the end of the treatments. An unexpected side-effect was that the incision site of the orchiectomy got slightly sore and swollen again. At least this showed that the x-rays were having an effect 🙂
I started back to work a few days after the last treatment and started mild exercise in the gym a few weeks later. I played cricket about three weeks after the treatment ended. After this I was sore all week so I think it was a bit early for this. The cricket season in over now until April 2004. My goal is to get fully fit for it so lots of gym time over the winter is needed I think.
I will have an appointment with an oncologist in October for a checkup. Will probably get x-rays or a CT scan to ensure there are no other tumors. All the evidence is that there wont be. Previous CT scans and tumor markers were negative. So hopefully my brush with TC is behind me with the exception of the periodic follow-up checks.


Three days into my radiotherapy treatment (or zapping). Actually this is day 4 but I get Saturday and Sunday off for good behaviour 🙂 Very strange feeling.
The best way I can describe it is that I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. Or it’s like the muscle strain felling I get when I start cricket training at the beginning of the summer. Of course with the training pain it’s my whole body that’s sore (even bits I didn’t know I had!).
I felt really nauseous a few hours after the sessions on day 2 and day 3. Same this morning but its not too bad at the moment. Nearly chucked this morning after gargling with mouthwash. The action of leaning forward to spit it out nearly triggered further action!. I have tablets to take for the nausea. One a day. Plus I’m drinking lots of water. I feel like I do when I have a viral infection that my body is fighting off. I don’t think I have an infection but rather it’s just the feeling on my body repairing the damage done by the X-Rays. Just as I was starting to feel okay again after the surgery. Still better than some of the other alternatives though.
The worst part is pain in my pelvic region related to the scar tissue from the surgery. I think this is a result of the manipulation to fit the lead shielding to protect the remaining testicle from the radiation 🙁 Liberal does of Panadol Extra for that issue.
12 more sessions to go over the next 17 days. Chin up as they say!

The reason the Earth exists?

Some people think (incorrectly in my opinion) that the Earth exists for some profound reason. Well, if I’m wrong, then I think that a reason as good as any other is that the Earth exists to give Kate Bush something to stand on when singing.

She does after all have the voice of an angel. For the last few hours I have been listening to her complete collection on my iPod in random play mode. Current track is “In Search of Peter Pan” from the Lionheart album. Pure bliss. The title track “Oh England, my Lionheart” has just started.

Now where is that new album we hear about? Like all her stuff it will be worth waiting for.

Eclipse lyric

I wrote this little ditty in 1999 when there was a total eclipse that tracked over Europe. The recent interest in the annular eclipse in Scotland reminded me that it was lurking on my PowerBook hard drive. The appearance of Brian May on The Sky at Night show in the UK and Brian’s thoughts about the eclipse on his web site prompted me to send it to his Soapbox email address. I got a reply from Brian and the lyric is also posted on the letters section of the Brian May web site (page it was on no longer available).

Anyway as it is now out in the wild I may as well post it here. Nothing serious. Just a bit of fun.


Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
First contact thrills us as
The sun sets in the day
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Twilight comes and light fades
In a spooky way
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
It gets colder and the wind blows
In a peculiar way
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
The atmosphere dances madly as the
Shadow bands play
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Totality is upon us now as
Beautiful as they say
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
The corona shimmers brightly as
Prominences dance and play
Dead of night will fall again
In the heat of day
Blazing forth the diamond ring as the
Moon goes on its way
Dead of night will fall away
With the return of day
The eclipse it is behind us
Time we were on our way