Monday, 4 January 2010

Delays and decisions

I’m half way through radiotherapy. When I was a child, radiotherapy used to be feared and dreaded. It caused depression and had quite horrible side-effects. Perhaps there is a sting in the tail or it may depend on the area of the body receiving the treatment, but so far, compared to chemotherapy, it is a piece of cake, except that it is monumentally inconvenient. In the grand scheme of things, compared to the pain and suffering of many cancers, inconvenience is pretty minor.

In fact the day started so well. During the festivities we had not had the time, energy or inclination to do our usual early morning walks, but Britain’s normal life has resumed this week and so we got up reasonably early and dressed very warmly. Actually it was wonderful to be out in the fresh, if cold, air. We soon warmed up and compared to how I was just a couple of months ago when climbing the two hills, I was pleasantly surprised at how much stronger I felt.

The day went downhill from there. I thought I’d better deal with phone calls now normal office life has come out of hibernation and had a frustrating call to the Inland Revenue – enough said. Soon it was time to set off for the hospital. Having left an hour before my appointment as the traffic is usually hideous, we were pleasantly surprised to arrive 30 minutes early but disappointed to learn they were running 20 minutes late.

Some 45 minutes after my appointment time, a radiographer announced that one of the machines had broken. We actually waited nearly two hours in total. We couldn’t leave the area to get a drink as we had no idea when I would be called. By then the League of Friends café and the commercial café were closed anyway. It was freezing as there was a ceiling vent blowing out cold air from which none of us could escape no matter how we moved seats.

Owing to the delays, we couldn’t drive home before my 6.15 p.m. appointment at the Nuffield Hospital so we had to drive straight there and wait. However, at least it was warm, comfortable and there were hot drinks available. Now I have seen the ENT consultant I have a much better idea when the transplant will take place. I have learned that unless the sinusitis is really eradicated, the high dose chemotherapy which precedes the transplant would lower my immunity so that the sinusitis would very likely flare up and this could be lethal. The cure necessitates an operation. I really don’t have a choice.

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