January 26, 2018
Couldn’t get our speedy act together this morning so we catch the rush hour/school run traffic all the way to Mount Vernon.
My oncologist comes into the hospital meeting room with a young doctor in tow. She’s not introduced, but we smile our hello to her. We give Mark the story of the last three weeks. He’s concerned about the lack of advice and support we have had from the hospital, and asks Amanda to note down a time-line for him. He also asks if we have an assigned Macmillan nurse for home. No. He’ll sort that out.
I ask him if the oral chemo I’m on works alone. Not really, he says, it only works in conjunction with intravenous chemo. He acknowledges that he has hit me hard with the treatment this time.
Manda bravely asks the What If question – what if we stop taking everything – how long have I got? He says ‘I don’t know. You’re a unique case. You should be dead by now. I might parade you round the wards!’ As compliments go, that’s the first he’s ever given us. He’s actually smiling. I think we all are. Between us, we are doing something right – his horrible drugs, our diet and my ridiculous cycling habit. This is by far the longest meeting we’ve ever had with him. He seems calm and unhurried, we sense a change in how we are regarded. I may have become A Curiosity.
I ask about the scans and the implications of not seeing clearly into the stomach. He says it’s very rare that the primary kills you, it’s the secondries. So being able to see how my liver is doing is the key thing, and that is clearly shown on the CT scan.
We ask about other treatments and drug trials. He says that there is a drug that is available, he says he’ll have to come up with a cunning plan, and he’ll think about that. I may have to man-up and accept more intravenous treatment in due course. In the meantime he’ll arrange the next CT scan, and I’m ok to stay off chemo for a month, when we’ll meet again to review.
This truly is an emotional roller-coaster. Although I feel buoyant, Manda feels drained. The month off will give us a chance to regroup, hopefully to smooth out the emotional ups and downs, and as the days get a little longer and warmer I’ll be out on the bike. The diet continues, but I have allowed myself a chocolate biscuit. Whoop! whoop!
Here are some images from our walk this afternoon. We had the best of the day.