Thursday, 21 January 2010

A whiff of mortality

The last three days have been very busy and as usual have revolved around hospital visits. Monday saw the last of radiotherapy at the General Hospital and I have to say that despite all the delays whether from scheduling or machine breakdowns, the radiotherapy staff have always been polite, good-natured and hard-working. Tuesday brought a visit to the Marsden – very busy but very purposeful. On Wednesday I went to a private hospital in Winchester for pre-assessment tests prior to my ENT operation. These were extremely thorough. In the afternoon came a visit I dreaded – seeing my oncologist and telling him that I was going to the Marsden. I hoped he would not think it any criticism of him as he has been excellent.

As usual he saw us on time and was very affable. When I told him about the Marsden he was a little concerned about how we would get there but I told him about Jonathan living reasonably close by. Of course, he wanted to know why not Southampton. He could see I didn’t want to be too critical but encouraged me to talk about it. I don’t think I am the first person who has experienced similar difficulties. At all events he wished us well and I knew he meant it. There are a number of people, to whom I shall pay tribute later, without whom I could not be contemplating the course of action I am taking and he is one of them.

Both Ray and I have times when it all becomes horribly serious i.e. the steps we are about to take. We cannot help worrying about it. Ray naturally wants to know at what point we can stop being really worried. I suppose the acute stage lasts for about a year but I think the graft versus host disease can become chronic at any point and the lymphoma could come back. After about twelve months I imagine the worry is about the same as any cancer survivor who knows that the cancer can return. It is something we must learn to live with but for most people of our age, life is not stress-free and if we can use this to make the most of the time we have together then whether it turns out to be short or long it will be good.

Today brought a phone call from the Sister on the Transplant Ward at the Marsden. She has arranged for me to go there for a PET scan on 10th February, the insertion of the Hickman line on 11th and a check on the line on 12th February. They don’t hang around! She is now checking dates with the donor but tentatively I could be in hospital by 23rd February. For so long now I have wanted some certainty but that brings with it a strong whiff of mortality.

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