F8#k s @#t bo@**$%s, that’s all the sweary words you’re going to get out of me. It’s not big and it’s not clever. If you looked purely because of the title I guess this is where you leave. Unless of course you want to catch up with what’s been happening in my life, you never know you might learn something. Miracles do happen. Well I’m banking on that anyway, I might just call for one someday.
So 3 months. 13 weeks. 92 days. I’m not sure which sounds the longer, but whichever way you count it, it’s not really that long at all. I suppose it depends on where you want to put the emphasis. Don’t worry I haven’t gone mad, I’m getting to the point. It’s three months since I was given the final ‘NED’ (no evidence of disease) label, last Thursday I was asked to give it back. Ten days or so earlier I had been for a CT scan and Thursday I was seeing the oncologist to hear the results. I knew something was not quite right when the clinic nurse was waiting for me as soon as I had provided the necessary samples for the numerous bloods tests undertaken every time you visit. Today they weren’t even waiting for the results which normally take between 30-45 minutes. Having said that, I had the same blood tests a week before and the results would have been on my records. Phlebotomy took longer than usual. It was the first time I had seen nurse Heather since Glastonbury. I had tickets, she didn’t, and she wanted to know every detail. Also, the veins in my left arm consistently collapse at the mere mention of blood tests. My arm was still badly bruised from the previous weeks attempts, and every attempt now is extremely painful. So apart from chatting to the staff, I dread having blood taken now. Anyway, I had barely got my sleeve pulled down when the clinic nurse appeared calling me straight in to see the oncologist. Dr S was with me within minutes, and after the niceties were over he broke the news I was by now almost expecting. It didn’t prevent the sharp intake of breath I took as he broke the news to me in his customary matter of fact way. The latest CT scan had shown a new lesion on my liver. You rarely hear the word ‘tumour’ from cancer doctors, lesion or growth is much gentler but there was no doubt what he was suggesting, there is another tumour on my liver. He pointed out that there was a margin for error, but he wanted another look anyway. He suggested the ‘lesion’ was quite small “just 1.16cm” as he looked at the radiologists report. I reminded him that the original 7 tumours on my liver were all described as ‘sub-centimetre’ when they were first discovered. One man’s small is another man’s colossus. I suppose it depends on where you put the emphasis.
Whatever you want to call it or however you want to measure it, we have a problem. We briefly discussed the options, but first and rightly so Dr S wanted to see clearer images of what’s been discovered, so he’s requested urgent MRI and PET scans. In the meantime he’s alerted the liver MDT team at North Manchester so they can view the scans and give their opinion. Surgery is the preferred option from a medical standpoint, but there are many other factors that have to be considered before surgery can proceed. And so I left, to begin it all again. I don’t really recall the drive home – that’s scary when you realise you’ve done it. My mind must have been racing through the uncertainties that surrounded me. M was at home when I got back. With my new policy of Glastnost, I told her straight away. I don’t remember what she said but I knew I felt safe as we hugged each other. I admitted that for the first time I felt scared. Not scared of the cancer, scared of the uncertainty. She’s never dealt with other people’s illnesses well, and so her coming with me to the CT scan and her understanding and caring means so much more to me. This is the side of her that others rarely get to see, and I couldn’t wish for anyone better to be there for me. Yes, you’re very observant, things do seem to have moved on a little, no a lot, in the last month. I’m not sure I can do it justice now as I’m writing this, so I’ll update you soon.
You’ll have realised I was also at The Christie the week before last. We’re doing this blog the wrong way round. This time I had an appointment to see Dr S, bowel surgeon and my primary consultant. We discussed everything that had been going on, and any problems I’d been having. I continue to get blockages in my colon which are both painful and make managing my stoma difficult to manage. Now was the first opportunity of addressing any problems I had experienced, surgery was out of the way (this was pre scan results don’t forget) and things can be looked at from a more balanced perspective. I have suffered a lot of damage from both radiotherapy and surgery and so I was glad that these issues were now being addressed. And so I can expect a referral to another specialist in the coming weeks, He thinks that scar tissue may be the cause of some of my problems, and so Mr S wants to do another colonoscopy to get a better view of what’s going on. My experience of having a colonoscopy is not good. Each of the two I have had have been extremely painful, although Dr S assures me that this next one will be pain free as he no longer expects to have to negotiate his camera past a mass of cancerous cells. I’ll reserve judgement on this until after the procedure. Even when you think you are cancer free, it serves as a reminder that you suffer the side effects and consequences for a long time after treatment ends.
So in the coming weeks I’ve got to see two consultants, have one colonoscopy, one MRI scan, and one PET scan. It didn’t take long to get back to a life dictated by cancer. The thought had entered my head to bring this blog to an end, I thought I had reached a natural conclusion. Instead I find I’ve only reached the end of a chapter. I thought I might be able to concentrate on other things. Now I’ll have to gather myself together again to get my cancer head back on.
Well there it is. That’s the end of the sweary blog. Not very sweary at all was it, although I’m sure you can imagine the expletives that have been going through my mind. Just when you think it’s over…I think I’m more disappointed than scared. There are still too many uncertainties to start worrying needlessly. Ah, the good news. I’ve finally convinced Dr S that he should go to Glastonbury. He’s always thought he was too old (younger than me) and that his wife’s stiletto’s would get stuck in the mud. But it seems that two years of me talking about it has finally convinced him to register for tickets, and he’ll be joining the rest of us in the scramble for tickets when they go on sale in a couple of weeks time. Being a consultant he’s going for the ‘glamping‘ option. I suppose if you can afford it. We did shake on a deal as well, he’s got to make sure he gets me there.