The nicht afore the morn

For those who aren’t keen followers of the Scots language, or more specifically au fait with the traditions of the Borders Common Ridings, the ‘nicht afore the morn’ is the phrase used in some towns to mark the day/evening before the Festival’s main celebration day.

My ‘nicht afore the morn’ doesn’t so much reflect a pre-celebration day, but more a day of reflection and relaxation before I go into hospital for, well, who knows quite how long.

Tonight I put the kids to bed for the last time this month.

Tomorrow I’ll head into Ward 8 at the Western for my Stem Cell Transplant.

It’s been brilliant that the weather’s been so nice for the past few days. However, in spite of your many good wishes, I really kind of hope the rain, wind and even sleet returns for the rest of May whilst I’m stuck in isolation! Sorry…

I’ve not packed yet – not that there’s much I need to take in.

My main task in the morning, once I’ve done nursery and school runs and said my final goodbyes to the kids, is to go to the supermarket and stock up on drinks (soft…), nibbles, treats and even Pot Noodles.

For my SG work colleagues, I intend to replicate the SGoRR provisions cupboard. Ever Resilient!

I’m not as worried as I thought I’d be about going in for a long-ish period. I think that my concerns of the last few days were clearly targeted at the surgical side of things (yesterday’s Hickman Line insertion) and less around the drugs and Stem Cell replantation.

I can just about understand that line of thought if I consider that I don’t particularly like knives, stitches, needles etc, and have become used to taking chemo drugs.

What’s less understandable is the fact that the Hickman Line procedure isn’t particularly high risk, whilst the impact of industrial strength chemo followed by Stem Cell return carries a number of risks and possible side effects – and even a two per-cent chance of death.

But them’s the facts of life (and death) when it comes to taking on the Big C. Nobody said it would be an easy ride. But you’ve just got to jump on and give it everything you’ve got.

I visited the wonderful Maggie’s Support Centre again today (did I mention they were wonderful?).

I was really keen on talking to their brilliant staff about how to handle the mental side of being in isolation for a month or so, and then – assuming I’m one of the 98 per-cent(!) – how to deal with the weeks, more likely months, of recovery and beyond.

And as I’ve come to expect (and rely upon) the Edinburgh Centre’s manager Andy provided first-class advice, a number of top tips, and gave the kind of experienced reassurance that always sees me leaving my visits to Maggie’s with a confident skip in my step.


If that was the calming part of the day, the morning visit of the health visitor was less so.

The pain was excruciating. Off the scale. I screamed and I yelped. There may even have been tears. I’m struggling to even write about this now, 10 hours on.

Yes, removing – very slowly – extremely sticky dressings from a large area of newly grown chest hair is more pain than any man should ever have to go through.

No wonder I turned to beer (or two) tonight.


Bye for now – next instalment comes to you live from Ward 8. See you then.

A x



About Andrew Slorance

Husband, father, son, brother, cyclist, pen pusher, pedant, contrarian , fights Mantle Cell Lymphoma in my spare time.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The nicht afore the morn

  1. Moira says:

    Good luck! Try to stay positive. You will be in isolation but you will also be in our thoughts. x


  2. Lynda says:

    Hope all goes well with everything and you’re soon back home … Least of all because I’m quite enjoying the sun this week and don’t fancy your prescribed bad weather!


  3. Edith Scott says:

    As they say in Selkirk on the Night afore the Morn, safe oot – safe in, I’ll look forward to reading your blog and feeling your your much admired PMA x


  4. Iain Fleming says:

    Stay strong Andrew. It is not just your immediate colleagues in Edinburgh wishing you well but those of us in the wider communications community who are following your struggle and sending good wishes.


  5. Angela G says:

    I don’t think our paths have ever crossed though I work in comms in Scotland; I felt compelled to cheer you on and offer you encouragement! My sister had a stem cell transplant last autumn for a rare form of leukaemia. It’s a tough time, but she’s now at 200 days and making good progress. She thought of herself as a ‘weeble’ that wobbles but doesn’t stay down for long. The Hickman line was a blessing – she would tell you to make friends with it, and she’d also tell you to make sure the staff are scrupulous with how it’s used – she told staff off if they hadn’t cleaned it (or their hands) for long enough – and by the time she had it removed, having never had an infection in it, she was strangely reluctant to part with it! So be a bit bossy – it’s your body and your life – smile whenever you can, and have faith in the wonderful NHS. And in yourself. Very best wishes to you and your family – I hope the hills to climb are wee and the valleys are short and shallow.


  6. Lisa Scott says:

    I hope everything goes well for you. Take care xx


  7. Gillian says:

    Good luck Andrew. I am hoping that your cupboard will have a bit more going for it that the SGORR kitchen! We are all thinking of you here. Gillian


  8. Jane says:

    The very best of luck Andrew. As I told you a while ago one of my closest friends went through a stem cell transplant only 3 years ago! She is now going through the rigors of the treatment all over again and will probably be in ward 8 before the end of the year. I imagine that being in isolation is very different for everyone and how you cope will differ immensely. I expect some cope better than others 🙂 Sometimes the idea of that seems a wonderful idea to me, especially if life is being overly hectic or hard lol (however definitely not for the reason you are having to do it) I hope you don’t find it too boring and of course having all the gadgets for communicating with the outside world will help ease that. Keep you chin up and I look forward to reading your blog from ward 8 🙂


  9. MGT says:

    Ha! I like the bit about the chest hair. Now you know what we women go through with waxing our legs ( and other bits!). Best of luck! XXX


  10. Suzanne says:

    All the very best Andrew and made me smile remembering the resilience room cupboard ( think I still have one of the mugs..). Apparently they’ve just brought out a macaroni cheese pot noodle hope you’ve got one and can provide a review. Suzanne


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s