It’s Saturday morning…..correction, afternoon, one o’clock to be precise and I’ve just woken. It wasn’t a particularly a bad sleep night, I was awake a few times at least but that’s pretty normal. The last thing I remember is the 7 o’clock news on the radio, I remember thinking about the test match, 2 days lost to rain already, and wondering if they would get any play in today. I awoke with Agger’s telling me it was fifteen minutes to lunch. There seemed to be torrential rain throughout the night, and it’s certainly not cricketing weather here. I am grateful for the bonus 6 hours sleep, yes, I must have needed it, but it messes up meal times, medication and I’m sure I’ll think of something else before the day is ended. Was there something I wanted to do today? Hmmm…..we’ll see.
I’m conscious of the fact that it’s a while since my last blog entry. Over the last week I written a few things down, almost posted another entry, and had plenty of ideas over what I might be writing about this week, but never felt compelled to publish. To be honest, despite the fact that it’s been a busy week I’m still not sure what to say even as I sit here. I had planned to blog yesterday, then there were a few good news stories about (new treatment, end of chemo, good scan results) and I didn’t want to steal anyone else’s thunder. This blog was always going to be about my own scan results, but I’m not really sure I know what to think of them myself yet. I left Worthing at 04.30 am on the long drive back to Manchester to make my 10 o’clock appointment. I like driving that time of the day, less traffic. By the time I reached the top of the M40 my eye lids were starting to get heavy, and so I stopped at Frankley Services for a power nap. There had been torrential rain all the way, and now my unplanned sleep meant I was joining the rush hour traffic on the northbound M6, but I was refreshed and thankfully the rest of the journey was uneventful. I just about made it for 10 o’clock although by the time I had queued for 20 minutes to check in, it was half ten.
The scan results, yes, they were in. I had some doubt over whether this would be the case due to a weekend and two public holidays in between the last scan and my appointment. I had geared myself up for a definitive plan for the next few months, but I should have learned by now that there is rarely such a thing when dealing with cancer. There is no black or white, good or bad, positive or negative. There is never a straight road or a clear panorama in front of you. Dr S had discussed the consultant radiologists report and observations, with Mr L, and now with me. The tumours on my liver were behaving as would be expected for this type of cancer cell, they are growing, but slowly. They were all measured individually and compared to previous scans. I can be thankful that we are dealing with bowel cancer cells that are relatively slow in spreading. However, the previously suspect lesion on my lung has more than doubled in size dispelling any doubt that this was a malignant tumour. Unfortunately this ’confirmed’ tumour precludes me from the drugs trial. Fortunately, Dr S said I could still have the drug via the cancer drugs fund. http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-questions/cancer-drugs-fund I find myself in the rather uncomfortable position of being thankful to the coalition government for setting up the cancer drugs fund, it is clearly working, and in my favour. All of a sudden politics doesn’t matter, it’s my life. I’ve been left with a decision as to what cocktail of drugs and in what combination I’d like, to choose over the weekend. Their effectiveness is clear, there is no particular benefit from any combination, they have all been shown to work. What I’m left deciding on is what side effects I think I’d prefer, or could cope with. There are a number of questions I need answers to before I can decide and I’ll be speaking to the research nurse on Monday before I make a final decision. I’m already booked in to have a hickman line inserted on Thursday and for chemotherapy to begin Friday, so things are moving pretty quickly. Mr L will make a decision on liver surgery at the end of this first course of chemo (12 weeks), and we now have to factor in lung surgery at some time in the foreseeable future. If you’re confused by any of the above, put yourself in my shoes, these are decisions about my life, and more importantly, quality of life. The word containment is becoming more , frequent when discussing my cancer . The next three months will determine just how contained it can be, and whether chemotherapy will make surgery remain a viable option. The accumulation of uncertainty is becoming quite a burden.
As you know, I went to Worthing last week to spend a couple of precious at days with Alana and Lewis. Lew was working Tuesday night, so it gave Alana and I some time to spend together. A lovely Italian restaurant made the time even better. She has grown up so much in the last few months, growing in confidence and maturing at the same time. It was nice to spend some ‘adult’ time with her and I’m very proud of her. She’s finally made a decision on University, Sussex is what she wants and I’m pleased for her, a good Uni with an excellent reputation. She’ll be sitting her A levels in the next few weeks, she doesn’t show any sign of nerves and seems perfectly relaxed and prepared for it. We did see Lew for a couple of hours, but it wasn’t a particularly late night, and I slept very well in a strange bed.
Lew wasn’t working Wednesday, so the three of us headed for Brighton. The North Lanes in Brighton is the capital of ‘vintage’, so many shops, I know so many people who would be in heaven here. It comes at a price though, you could spend a fortune. Interspersed with second hand shops, music shops, new earth shops, retro shops every kind of snoopers paradise shops, it makes spending money easy. Thursday night we went to an ‘all you can eat’ Chinese buffet restaurant. They must quake in their shoes when they see Lewis walk through the door. To say we had our moneys worth is an understatement. Certainly the best Chinese I have every had, and as well as the help yourself buffet, you could have anything cooked to order, in any style you wanted, and Lewis did. Amid the noodles and teriyaki chicken, it was the first time the three of us have sat down together and were able to discuss my cancer. They are of course always the first to be kept up to date with the ever changing pathway, but this was the first time we have had to discuss the possibility that there might be a time limit on this illness. They are very supportive, loving and increasingly knowledgeable about cancer. It’s not a subject you ever want to discuss with your children, but they accept the reality of it all and the mature way they deal with it, and discuss it with me is an encouragement to me, I value their support above anyone’s.
Alana bought me a blue bottle. A blue bottle as opposed to a bluebottle. Although it did have a bluebottle in it when I washed it. Well, it was a dead fly actually, but it’s as close as you could get. It fits nicely with my other blue bottles, and pink ones, and pyramid. It makes me smile as I sit here and look at it, and it will make me think of Alana every time I look out of the window. That is good.