Apologies for the lack of posts since Monday.
I've been busy getting home from hospital after a five month stay, during which I was diagnosed with POEMS syndrome (a tumour that produces antibodies that attack the nervous system and hence cause muscular weakness), treated with radiotherapy and then had two months of intensive physiotherapy.
I've recovered from a low point of being stuck in bed with my legs out of action, my trunk muscles weakened and my hands not functioning properly.
I can now walk in the gym with a splint on my weaker leg and two physios holding my hands for balance. Rest of the time I need a wheelchair. Independent indoor walking should follow in the New Year after a readmission for another month of intensive physio. Getting rid of the wheelchair completely could take up to two years. Hopefully I will avoid a relapse of the illness, which would require treatment with chemotherapy.
I'd like to publicly thank all the staff who looked after me in the Acute Care Unit and Lamb Ward at the Homerton Hospital; John Young Ward and the Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery; and in the haematology and radiotherapy teams at University College Hospital. I feel privileged to have met such professional and caring people.
Thanks also to my fellow patients for their company; to friends, work colleagues and Labour comrades for visiting me; and to my family, particularly my partner Linda and son Jed for their love and support.
My normal levels of offline political activity resume shortly - online it's never stopped.
Meanwhile I'm getting used to life on wheels and enjoying being at home for the first time in a very long time.