Welcome to 2019

Goodbye 2018. You were a tough year but I’m finishing in much better state than I started. The biggest difference is having started on Venetoclax in February which has worked really well. Most of my blood parameters are now in the normal range, I’ve put back the weight I had lost, and my knees and ankles are much improved after the damage Ibrutinib did to them.

My writing has picked up; I now have 80k of the first draft of my new fantasy novel – more epic than the Nandor Tales books – and hope to have a complete first draft soon. Since I resumed work on it I’ve written about 50k words which is pretty good going for me.

2018 was a tough year for a Southampton supporter too. Mark Hughes looked like a saviour at the end of last season but it quickly became clear that, despite the new players brought in, the team was still weak. I’ve been well enough to go to a lot of home games this season and the number of errors that cost us points was disturbing. The new man Ralph Hassenhuttl seems to have a strong vision for the side and I think we’ve made a good appointment. I look forward to seeing us win a lot more games in 2019.

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Review of Blackest Knights

I have a story in Blackest Knights, an anthology edited by Charles Phipps and published by Crossroad Press, who will be publishing my contemporary fantasy novel next year.

So is it any good? Here’s what I thought of it:

19 fantasy adventure short stories from 15 different authors, many set in the worlds of the their novels, all action-packed and never less than entertaining; there is simply not a bad one amongst them. My standouts were “Gift of the Gaze” by James Alderdice, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” by Allan Batchelder and “Honor is Just a Word” by CT Phipps (who edited and has 3 stories in the anthology). This serves as an excellent sampler of the writing of these talented independent authors

Full therapeutic dose

I’ve now been on the full therapeutic dose of Venetoclax for 1 week and I still feel fine – no side effects. The lymph nodes in my groin and neck have gone down, and the blood test I took this morning shows the beginning of an improvement with my neutrophil levels above 1; for comparison 4 weeks ago they were 0.6. I hope this is real and will continue. The first real marker is being able to stop the daily Filgastrim injections (bone marrow stimulant).

I also hope there will be good news about the audiobook of Exile soon.

Update – a couple of weeks on

So I’m coming to the end of my second week on Venetoclax, which means I’m now taking 50mg/day and heading for 100mg/day on Wednesday. So far so good, no side effects other than many more trips to the toilet because of the extra fluids I’m drinking to ward off Tumour Lysis Syndrome (look it up, it’s not nice).

 

I took part in the annual Lighwater Village Quiz on Friday with my usual team. I haven’t been able to take part for the last 3 or 4 years, though my team did win without me one year. As usual we won the very demanding 100 question table quiz, and I was able to hear most of the questions as they were read out. We then lost in the semi-final up on stage in the ‘fastest finger first’ buzzer round. Was I restricted by my hearing in answering the questions quickly? Yes, I think so. Would we have beaten the team that defeated us if I was 100%? I doubt it, they were very good and went on to win the title.