However I thought today was going to turn out, it wasn’t like this ! There’s no point in using expletives, they are far more effective when spoken. Arrived at The Christie for my 8am appointment. Bloods as usual first, no problem, blood drawn, flushed and whatever else it is that they are injecting into the Hickman line that goes directly into one of the major veins. The Onco team had not heard from North Manchester, where liver surgery will take place. That explained why I hadn’t received a copy of the letter, assuming they were posted at the same time and provided it’s even been typed. I knew that the liver MDT meeting was taking place last week. I had spoken to my allocated specialist nurse who promised to ring me following the meeting. As you can imagine the day was quite stressful waiting for the call, and everyone I know or didn’t know chose to ring me on that Thursday making the tension worse. However she did ring, and as it transpired with some positive news. The MDT had decided that surgery to remove the five tumours on my liver was viable, and I was given a tentative date of 7th November for surgery. They were advising my oncology team that chemotherapy should stop in preparation for surgery. I don’t expect the date to be set in stone, there are various things that have to happen before now and then, and surgery will always be subject to a bed being available in intensive care, due to the high risk nature of the surgery. Also the thoracic team have to give the go ahead in that the tumour or tumours on my lung are also respectable. There’s no point in proceeding with surgery if they are unable to remove the tumours on my lungs. The general indication is that this should not be a problem.
So that’s positive, I have an appointment on the 18th when I will see the surgeon and hopefully things will be clearer. I’m chuckling to myself as I write that, as if anything is clear when your talking about cancer. Anyway, I told the Onco doctor what I knew. I had thought that chemo today would be cancelled, but the onco had different thoughts. We had already agreed to stop the Avastin after the last treatment, but he felt the 5-FU should be given today, and await word from North Manchester. I was disappointed as I thought I was going to get home early, but I can’t do anything but agree really. He noted my continuing side effect, including a new one ! Bizarrely, I seem to have lost all the hair on one of my legs. Yep, just one. I don’t know when it went, I noticed it the other night, and ladies, wow, this is effective, I recommend chemotherapy as a perfect means of dilapidation. Well I can’t guarantee that it will work on both legs, and the other side effects are very much pants, but I can assure you, my leg is as smooth as the proverbial babies bottom. There might be more hair to go yet, I’ll keep you informed.
The side effects are pretty irrelevant in the long game, and so I made my way to the trials unit for my latest dose of chemo. I wouldn’t have to wait long as we were down to the one chemotherapy drug now, so I should be home within a couple of hours. The nurse proceeded with the various other drugs injected through my hickman line, and the various flushes when all of a sudden, “Arrgh”, followed twenty seconds or so later an “Ouch”, and then an even longer “ARRRRRRRGH !” (that was louder as well). The nurse stopped looking quite concerned as I flinched with pain. Just a few seconds each time, but a pain neither of us could ignore. I will cut a long story short here as there were various phone calls and visits from staff from other departments inspecting the line and noting the slight blemish in the skin over the course the tube takes under my skin. Eventually the doctor arrived. Everything had been as normal this morning, apart from a bit of stinging as the exit site of the tube in my chest was cleaned. The Onco thought it was either a blockage or a leak. A series of x-rays, with contrast would hopefully identify the problem, but either way it was likely the hickman would have to come out and they would insert a picc line instead. There was also the chance that there was an infection somewhere along the line, and that alone could be life threatening – gulp ! There was little chance of getting the x-ray done before late this afternoon, by which time it would be too late to start chemo, particularly as other procedures to insert the picc line would be needed. We agreed I should go home, wait by the phone should a slot become available, but otherwise it’s back tomorrow morning.
Bugger ! Oh sorry, I said I wouldn’t swear. Is that swearing? Best not get into a debate on the subject. But I was pissed off. Damn there I go again. I think you sense the mood I was in. No only was I going for chemotherapy I thought wasn’t going to proceed, but when they did proceed they couldn’t continue. And another day to do it all again, and more, Friday.
My temperature was slightly raised, and blood pressure high, but other than that I was feeling ok. So I did what I always do when in such a mood, I went shopping. I’ve restocked with enough incense and oil burners for winter. The woman on that stall is bonkers, you could tell what she was doing in the sixties. I bought a shirt and lapel badge in a charity shop, she undercharged me, it wasn’t that difficult to add up, but she got it wrong. I didn’t know until she gave me the change, and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered wasting any more of my day explaining basic arithmetic to a volunteer worker in a charity shop. I’ll put the money in a collection box next time I see one. HMV always calls, and it did today. I rarely buy a CD on release, full price and unheard except for a few plays on the radio. But I’ll always make the exception for Muse. The Second Law is out and first impressions are that it’s good, as I would expect. I think Matt Bellamy may have reigned himself in a bit for this one, more refined and musically polished. I think with some of his recent work he’s been pushing the boundary’s to their breaking point, just to see if anyone dare criticise him and take him seriously. He is a goddam genius, there’s no doubt in my mind and I love everything Muse have ever done. Seriously, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen them live, right from their early beginnings. I’ve no doubt that this CD will further enhance their reputation.
Well that’s it, the end of a miserable day. I can’t believe it went so wrong when I thought everything was going to be so easy today. As usual, I can’t praise the staff at The Christie enough. They have been wonderful throughout today’s excitement and trauma.
Can I ask you a favour as well before I go. Some of you may remember Jenny, my lovely sister in law, ran in the Birmingham half marathon earlier this year in aid of Cancer Research. She is soon to be competing in the BUPA Great Birmingham run (10k), this time raising funds for the Beating Bowel Caner charity. I would ask you to think quite carefully as to whether you could spare a few quid perhaps, or even a few shiny coppers would do, lots of little donations make a nice big one. I really don’t like to ask, none of us do, but I really appreciate the effort both Jenny, and my nephew Ben are making on my behalf, and if I could encourage some of you to make a donation it would go some way to showing my appreciation and raise much needed funds for a charity close to my heart in such austere times. The run is taking place on 21st October, so not long. I’ll be there to cheer them on. Please have a think at least ~ thank you.
If you would like to make a donation you can do so here https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jennyhagues1